Mother, boyfriend charged in death of baby by cocaine

A 26-year-old woman and her boyfriend were charged yesterday with the murder of the woman's infant daughter, who died last November from a massive ingestion of cocaine, according to Baltimore police.

Tammy Patterson was arrested at her boyfriend's apartment in the 100 block of Colvin Street about 1 a.m. and taken to police headquarters, where she was charged with child abuse and first-degree murder, said police spokesman Dennis S. Hill.


Before leaving the apartment -- shared by the woman and her boyfriend, Thomas William Sawyer -- police searched for narcotics but found no contraband, they said.

Ms. Patterson was being held last night in the Women's Detention Center awaiting a bail hearing.


Mr. Hill said a warrant had been issued for Mr. Sawyer, 44, charging him with first-degree murder.

The police spokesman said detectives had searched for Mr. Sawyer and assumed he was "on the run."

Charges against the pair were the result of extensive toxicology tests conducted by the state medical examiner's office on the body of Tikia Shannon Smallwood-Patterson, who was 11 months old when she died Nov. 12 from ingesting a lethal dose of cocaine, police said.

Although homicide detectives have not determined how the infant came in contact with the cocaine, Mr. Hill said, "She was only 11 months old. She didn't go out and buy it."

The infant was pronounced dead at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where she had been taken by her mother and other family members.

The initial autopsy did not reveal the cause of the baby's death. However, toxicology tests, which take weeks to complete, were returned to the medical examiner's office Tuesday and showed that the baby died from cocaine intoxication, police said.

Ms. Patterson denied to The Sun Wednesday any knowledge of Tikia's ingesting cocaine.

She told police a number of people had gone in and out of the apartment the day her baby died, police reported.