Two Northwest Arkansas women failed to lock up prescription drugs that a child later took and died from, despite a prior state agency's order to put away "numerous" pill bottles, according to court documents filed this month.
Authorities said 27-year-old Melissa Cramer and 57-year-old Joanne Hostetter, both of Farmington, were charged last week in Washington County Circuit Court with felony child endangerment and negligent homicide, a misdemeanor.
Prosecutors allege a girl younger than 10 years old died on March 5 after ingesting an undisclosed prescription medication that was kept in an easily accessible part of the home.
A probable cause affidavit said the Arkansas Department of Human Services previously told Cramer - who authorities describe as the child’s caretaker and aunt – to put the medications in a locked place.
The document stated that Cramer left “numerous bottles” in easily reachable places, “creating a danger of death or serious physical injury from accidental ingestion.”
Records show Cramer was a caretaker to several other children at the home.
A court order filed earlier this month shows five children - ranging between 12 and less than a year old - were being tested for drugs.
Hostetter is the girl’s grandmother and guardian, authorities said.
The steeper child endangerment infraction each woman faces carries a maximum six-year prison sentence and fines up to $10,000.
Cramer and Hostetter pleaded not guilty during past court appearances. They remained in the Washington County jail Monday with bond set at $200,000.
Court records didn’t list an attorney representing Cramer. Hostetter’s attorney didn’t return messages seeking comment Monday afternoon.
A trial is set for June.