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story.lead_photo.caption Melissa Cramer (left) and Joanne Hostetter (right). Photo by Washington County sheriff's office.

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.


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  • 0boxerssuddenlinknet
    April 15, 2019 at 3:46 p.m.

    with the numerous kids mentioned was this also a foster home ?

  • Foghorn
    April 15, 2019 at 3:51 p.m.

    How is it that parents who leave drugs about for kids are prosecuted but parents who leave guns about for kids to use to kill themselves and other kids are not prosecuted?

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    April 15, 2019 at 4:34 p.m.

    this was abortion foghorn
    not whatever you heard.

  • ZeebronZ
    April 15, 2019 at 5:23 p.m.

    Guardian of a 27 year old? And there were small children in the home? Lots of them apparently? Previously warned about leaving the drugs out and accessible? This smells fishy. Minor charges, considering the outcome. I bet if they dig deeper, they'll find the truth.

  • MaxCady
    April 15, 2019 at 5:49 p.m.

    Why did they let these junkies have kids in the first place?

  • odinson
    April 16, 2019 at 7:18 a.m.

    Shoot... This is just a normal day every day in this state. Has been for decades. The difference now is people act like they care because the online paper has a comment section.

  • UoABarefootPhdFICYMCA
    April 16, 2019 at 7:33 a.m.

    odison is just another hateful gringo with a shh full mouth

  • Skeptic1
    April 16, 2019 at 9:54 a.m. thoughts as well, DCFS is all about taking kids from poor parents for next to no reason but turns a blind eye to their fosters using their homes as child warehouses for $$.