A 27-year-old woman denies using cocaine to induce a miscarriage after her premature son died a day after she gave birth in August.
Kimberly Shorter of Columbus pleaded not guilty to one count of cruelty to children during a Columbus Recorder’s Court hearing on Thursday. Judge Mary Buckner ordered Shorter held on a $20,000 bond in the Muscogee County Jail and bound the family violence charge over to Superior Court.
Police Detective Susan Shelton of the Special Victims Unit said Shorter was taken into custody Tuesday at Elizabeth Canty Apartments after police received information from the Department of Family and Children Services that Shorter’s unnamed son was born Aug. 24 but died in the neonatal unit of Midtown Medical Center a day later. The premature child weighed 1 pound 5 ounces and tested positive for cocaine, marijuana and cigarettes.
Shelton said it wasn’t the first time Shorter has given birth to a premature boy. She gave birth to a child weighing about 2 pounds in December 2015, but it also died three days later.
Shorter has five other children but has custody of none of them.
After her arrest, Shorter was interviewed by police, who asked if she took drugs to induce a miscarriage. Shelton said Shorter admitted to using cocaine and marijuana while she was pregnant but denies using drugs to induce a miscarriage.
Glendis Campbell of the Division of Family and Children Services told the court the agency received information that Shorter used the drugs to induce a miscarriage but didn’t disclose the source of that information.
Shorter, who was represented by public defender Charles Lykins, didn’t testify during the hearing.