Jenna Marie Tippett

OSCODA – An Oscoda woman faces up to 15 years in prison after the death of her infant son, despite alleged warnings to her from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) that it was unsafe for the child to sleep in a swing.

Jenna Marie Tippett, 30, was arraigned on charges of homicide-involuntary manslaughter on Nov. 14 following a four-month investigation by the Oscoda Township Police Department into the incident.

Police say the alleged unsafe sleeping practices applied to Tippett’s three-month old son led to his death on July 28. Tippett is currently being lodged in the Iosco County Jail on a $10,000 bond.

According to court documents, officers were summoned to Tippett’s AuSable Township home on July 28 after reports of a cardiac arrest involving the three-month old child. Officers arrived at 5:56 a.m. to find Tippett giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation to the child. He was transported to the Ascension St. Joseph Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Tippett told officer that after a feeding at approximately 4:30 a.m. she allegedly suctioned the baby’s nose and put him in the swing where he slept, but discovered he was not breathing when she checked him again at approximately 6 a.m.

An autopsy conducted on the three-month-old determined the cause of death for the baby to be positional asphyxia with pulmonary edema as the cause of death and that “there are no natural diseases or physical injures contributing to his death. The manner of death is accidental.”

According to police, it was determined that previously Tippett had a two-month old daughter who died in her sleep on May 25, 2011.

An investigator for Child Protective Services (CPS) investigated and determined that a worker for Divinity Home Healthcare had allegedly provided Tippett with a portable bassinet while the family resided in Oakland County, in an effort to prevent the family from allegedly continuing to letting the three-month old boy to continue sleeping in the portable swing. 

They further determined that the bassinet had been brought to Tippett’s AuSable residence to be used, but the bassinet had not been used at the time of his death.

Officials at Child Protective Services also notified police that Tippett had been provide with a safe sleep pamphlet from DHS in Oakland for two of her children, including the deceased three-month old. The document was signed by Tippett who stated “I acknowledge that I have been informed of the risks of unsafe sleep practices including possible death or injury.”

Further, CPS alleged that there has been documentation showing an Oakland County Health Vision Visit Progress Note stating that safe sleep practices were reviewed on every visit.