Mom accused of neglect after daughter, 5, consumes THC gummies

NORTH VERNON — A North Vernon mother has been charged with child neglect causing serious bodily injury after her 5-year-old daughter was found unresponsive and airlifted for emergency medical treatment after allegedly consuming THC-infused gummies.

Amanda Johnson, 37, 6775 W. Center St., North Vernon, was booked into the Jennings County Jail on March 9 after authorities executed a warrant for her arrest.

According to a statement from the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department, Johnson’s arrest resulted from events on Feb. 2, when the sheriff’s office, Jennings County EMS and the Spencer Township Fire Department responded to a 911 call reporting an unconscious and unresponsive 5-year-old girl at a residence in Spencer Township west of North Vernon.

“Upon arrival deputies located the unresponsive/unconscious female juvenile on the floor of the residence and immediately started gathering information from the child’s mother and assisting EMS in caring for the unresponsive child,” according to the sheriff’s office.

“Due to the seriousness of the situation and the child not responding, a medical helicopter was requested to the helipad at St. Vincent Jennings Hospital. The child was rapidly transported by Jennings County EMS to St. Vincent Jennings and transferred by medical helicopter shortly thereafter to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital (in Indianapolis) for further treatment.”

The child regained consciousness a day after she was admitted to the hospital and was discharged a short time later, the sheriff’s office said.

The ensuing investigation revealed “that the child had been exposed to a package of THC-infused gummies,” and despite “abnormal and lethargic” behavior, “treatment was never sought out for the child until the next day after being found unconscious. The investigation also revealed this was the second time the 5-year-old had been exposed to THC-infused products, however, the first incident went unreported.”

Johnson, who is charged with Level 3 felony neglect of a dependent causing serious bodily injury. An initial hearing has been set for March 30 in Jennings Circuit Court in Vernon.

The charging information filed against Johnson by the Jennings County Prosecutor’s Office accuses her of neglect for failing to seek medical attention for her unconscious daughter. Authorities also have subpoenaed Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital for medical records and notes regarding the child during the period she was admitted for care.

Online court records show Johnson was released from the Jennings County Jail on Tuesday after filing a promise to appear and posting $2,500 cash bond. As of Thursday, no attorney had entered an appearance on Johnson’s behalf. If convicted, the neglect charge Johnson faces carries an advisory sentence of nine years and a sentencing range of three to 16 years in prison.

“We want this case to be a wake-up call for all parents to use caution when experimenting with THC-infused products and keeping those products out of the reach of their children,” the sheriff’s office said. “There have been several other documented cases related to children overdoses related to THC-infused products throughout Indiana and the nation.”

Gummies, also known as marijuana or hemp edibles, contain the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and even where they are legal for purchase, their use by minors is illegal.

The sheriff’s department said Jennings Sheriff Deputy John Hartman led the investigation that included Detective Ian McPherson, Detective Garrett Hoppock, Sgts. Drew Heilers and Thomas Mellencamp, Deputy Ben Seastrom, Reserve Deputy Shawn McGill and staff from the Indiana Department of Child Services.