A Ludlow, Kentucky mom who used her federal stimulus check amid the COVID-19 pandemic to buy the fentanyl that caused her 2-year-old son Jaxon Kyler Dale Vogt’s fatal overdose in her lap as she slept was sentenced Tuesday to spend three decades behind bars.
Jurors needs under two hours to find Lauren Ashley Baker, 35, guilty on charges of murder, importing fentanyl, and two counts of fentanyl trafficking on April 21. Four days later, she was sentenced to serve a total of 33 years. Baker must serve at least 20 of those years in prison before she is eligible for parole.
Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders, noting that there were never any plea deals offered to Baker, called this a “sadly historic” case locally, as it is the county’s first murder conviction in an overdose death.
“Given the shocking and offensive facts surrounding Jaxon’s death, if she was going to get anything less than a life sentence, it wasn’t going to come from me,” Sanders said in a statement. “This is Kenton County’s first Murder conviction for an overdose death, so it’s sadly historic.”
The top prosecutor credited jurors for sending a “strong message to drug abusing parents that they’ll be held accountable for Murder if their child dies as a result of their drug use.”
Jaxon Vogt was found unresponsive by his father in his sleeping mother’s lap after a fentanyl overdose on March 18, 2021.
Baker was interviewed after her arrest by the Ludlow Police Department. The first thing she said was: “I just want to check on my baby.”
Under questioning, Baker said that she bought the fentanyl because “it was just getting hectic running over everyday and being sick, sitting there sick all of the time.”
“I just thought that if I bought more then I could make it last longer,” the mother of three said, noting that she spent $1,200 of $5,600 in stimulus check funds she received.
The dollar amount prompted the police detective to remark, “Holy cow! — that’s a nice stimulus.”
“Well, I’ve not been doing too good, and I’m trying to get back on track because my methadone stopped working when I found out I was pregnant,” she elaborated, telling the detective she found about her pregnancy “just the other night, like early, early morning” and that she was going through drug withdrawal.
Pressed for more specifics, Baker said she found out about her pregnancy the week Jaxon died.
“But I knew I was pregnant, I was just waiting on the levels to go up for a positive test,” she said.
Baker said that she traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, five days earlier to buy fentanyl with the stimulus money.
“Baker returned to Kentucky where she admittedly gave quantities of Fentanyl to two different people,” Baker’s post-arrest complaint said, referring to the baby’s father Edwin Suda and another woman. “Baker stated she ‘took a shot’ of Fentanyl on 3/18/21 prior to taking a nap with her 2-year-old son Jaxson.”
Prosecutors said that Jaxon’s father and the other woman testified at trial against Baker, admitting they used some of the fentanyl Baker bought.
Baker specified to police that her boyfriend was Jaxon’s biological father. The father was at work at the time of his son’s fatal overdose.
“Investigation by Ludlow Police Detective Jason Compton revealed Baker was home alone with the child while his father was at work. When the father returned home and woke Baker, she discovered her son’s lifeless body in her lap. Baker screamed and the father of the boy called 911,” prosecutors said in a press release.
Despite the efforts of doctors at Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Jaxon did not survive.
“Baker wantonly caused the death of her son by leaving Fentanyl within the reach of the child, after having consumed Fentanyl herself, and failing to prevent the child from handling the Fentanyl once he obtained her purse,” the complaint concluded.
An obituary for Jaxon said he “touched many of [the family’s] lives” during his “short time with us.”
“Even though he was only 2 years old, he was wise beyond his years. He loved to play with his older brothers, loved all ‘dog dogs’ and being outdoors,” the obit said. “Jaxon loved watching Bluey and Mickey Mouse Club House while holding his ‘ne-ne’ (binky) that was always by his side. There is no easy way to say goodbye. We will always remember how happy he made us when he was in our lives.”
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