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Two Harrisburg women charged in connection to baby's 2020 overdose death

Shayleen Concepcion and her mother, Alma Maldonado-Maldonado allegedly violated a court order barring Concepcion from being alone with the child due to her drug use.
Credit: Harrisburg Police
Shayleen Concepcion and Alma Maldonado-Maldonado

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Two Harrisburg woman have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child in connection to the August 2020 death of a six-week-old infant, according to criminal complaint affidavits filed by Harrisburg Police.

Shayleen Concepcion, 33, and her mother, Alma Maldonado-Maldonado, 69, were charged following the investigation into the death of Concepcion's infant son. The baby died on August 11 of what was later determined to be acute fentanyl toxicity, the complaint states.

Police say the women violated a court order that barred Concepcion from being alone with the infant. Maldonado-Maldonado had previously agreed to care for the baby due to Concepcion's ongoing drug use, which caused her to lose custody of the baby and her two other children in July. 

But on August 11, police say, Maldonado-Maldonado left her Front Street home and allowed Concepcion to be alone with the baby, which came into contact with fentanyl while in Concepcion's care. Officers were dispatched to the home for the report of an unresponsive newborn not breathing at 5:42 p.m., and the child was later pronounced dead after being rushed to an area hospital.

Maldonado-Maldonado later admitted to police that she had knowingly violated the court order by leaving her grandson alone with Concepcion, police say.

Investigators said they found several empty used drug packets, used and unused hypodermic needles, and a baggy of marijuana in common areas of the home like the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom. 

An autopsy performed on the baby on August 13 indicated the child died of acute fentanyl toxicity, and the Dauphin County coroner determined the manner of death was a homicide.

Concepcion and Maldonado-Maldonado were arrested and charged on Tuesday, according to police.

According to the complaint, authorities first became aware of Concepcion's drug use in March 2019, when Dauphin County Children and Youth Services received a referral regarding the conditions at Concepcion's home. An assessment of the home determined conditions were unsanitary, and Concepcion tested positive for opiates and methadone. She allegedly admitted to using heroin at that time, police say.

On March 15, 2019, CYS put a safety plan in place for Concepcion's two children, ages 11 and 14, police say. Maldonado-Maldonado was given temporary custody of the children while Concepcion was referred to drug and alcohol services through the Pennsylvania Advancement in Recovery program.

But Concepcion was discharged from the AIR program in May of 2019 after using heroin and not complying with program directives, police say.

Maldonado-Maldonado was granted protective custody of the children later that month and awarded full custody on Dec. 24, 2019, with Concepcion's approval, according to police.

In June 2020, CYS was notified that Concepcion had another son, and had admitted to hospital staff that she had used narcotics while pregnant. The baby was being monitored for drug withdrawal symptoms, according to police. 

CYS met with the family on July 1 and developed a plan in which Concepcion would live with Maldonado-Maldonado until appropriate housing could be found. Maldonado-Maldonado later agreed to become the child's 24-hour caregiver on July 8, due to Concepcion's ongoing drug use, police say.

Concepcion failed a drug test on July 10, testing positive for fentanyl, police say. At a court hearing on July 14, CYS ordered that the child should remain in Maldonado-Maldonado's physical care, and that Concepcion should not be allowed to be alone with the baby. Both women agreed to the order, according to police.

Concepcion later tested positive for fentanyl on July 16, 17, 23, and 29, police say. She stopped taking drug tests after July 29, claiming she had tested positive for COVID-19, according to police. CYS asked her to provide documentation of her COVID-19 diagnosis, but Concepcion did not do so, according to the complaint.