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Mother charged with giving birth to drug-addicted baby

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PARK CITY — Criminal charges have been filed against a woman with a history of drug addiction who police say gave birth to a drug-addicted baby.

Shea Renee Sheeran, 27, was arrested Monday night. She was charged in Summit County's 3rd District Court on Friday with child abuse involving intentionally inflicting serious physical injury and child endangerment, both second-degree felonies.

Sheeran gave birth to a boy Aug. 29 at the Park City Medical Center. Toxicology tests conducted on both mother and child after the birth showed Sheeran tested positive for methamphetamine, cocaine, amphetamines and opiates, and her son tested positive for amphetamines and opiates, according to charging documents.

Within six hours of being born, the infant "began experiencing drug withdrawal symptoms," including "tremors, exhibited high-pitched screaming, was vomiting, and had severe diarrhea. (The infant) was also hypersensitive to light, sound and touch," the charges state.

The baby was flown to Intermountain Medical Center for emergency treatment for several weeks, including receiving morphine to reduce his drug withdrawal symptoms. Doctors said the boy's "long-term prognosis remains uncertain," according to court records, and he may experience complications including brain damage and learning disabilities. The boy has been placed in an adoptive home.

During an interview with police, Sheeran told investigators she "kept her pregnancy a secret" from the physician who prescribed strong prescription drugs to her because "she knew that taking them could harm her baby" and she didn't want to be cut off, the charges state. She also told police she used cocaine and heroin early in her pregnancy.

Sheeran was on parole from the Utah State Prison at the time of her pregnancy and while giving birth.

On the same day she was charged in Summit County, she was also charged in Salt Lake City Justice Court with possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor. She was charged in Taylorsville Justice Court on Oct. 26 with shoplifting, a class B misdemeanor.

Sheeran's long criminal history also includes a felony forgery conviction in 2009 in Summit County in which she was sentenced to up to five years in prison. That followed a similar conviction and sentence for felony forgery in 2007. She was sentenced to the Utah State Prison in 2004 for felony drug possession, according to court records, and to the Summit County Jail in 2003 on another drug-related conviction.

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