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Mom Charged After Baby Allegedly Died During Co-Sleeping — a Year After Other Child's Similar Death: Police

Mackenzie Katlyn Reed, 24, faces multiple charges in connection with the death of her 7-week-old son

<p>Wilmington NC Police Department</p> Mackenzie Katlyn Reed

Wilmington NC Police Department

Mackenzie Katlyn Reed

A North Carolina mother has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after her baby allegedly died during co-sleeping – a year after police claim another one of her children died the same way.

Mackenzie Katlyn Reed, 24, is also charged with felony child abuse serious injury and child abuse/neglect serious physical injury in connection with the death of her 7-week-old son Zhen.

Wilmington police responded to the 800 block of Castle Street for an unconscious infant who was not breathing shortly after 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 3, 2023.

Lt. Greg Willett of the Wilmington Police Department tells PEOPLE that Reed was extremely emotional and frantic when she answered the door for officers. “She told the officers her baby needed help," Willett says.

The baby was transported to the hospital, where he died.

<p>Wilmington Funeral & Cremation</p> baby Zhen

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation

baby Zhen

Willett claims Reed told officers that “she fell asleep with the infant in the bed, and she stated that her baby’s father woke her up and her arm was on the baby, and she called 911.”

According to an autopsy report from the N.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, "the mother was smoking THC and using THC gummies during the day and evening on (Oct. 2, 2023)," per the Wilmington Star News.

The boy died from "asphyxia due to unsafe sleep environment," the autopsy report states, the Star News reported.

The infant was also suffering from "human rhino/enterovirus infection," also referred to as the common cold, per the report.

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In 2022, Reed had another child who died that she had been co-sleeping with, police said. A spokesperson with the District Attorney’s office determined there wasn’t enough evidence to charge her with that child’s death, per WECT.

Reed is being held in jail on a $500,000 secured bond.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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