ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) - An Orchard Park woman is accused of putting ethanol in the breast milk she fed her infant son.
Detectives have been investigating this case since April and arrested 36-year-old Kimberly A. Lawton near her residence on Thursday. She is charged with attempted second-degree felony assault and endangering the welfare of a child.
Orchard Park Police Chief Mark Pacholec said, "I've never seen anything like this in Orchard Park. And having children, you question, number one, why would you do this to anybody, but why your own child?"
Police say the infant was less than a year old when Lawton allegedly poisoned him.
"Ethanol is alcohol in its purest form. It was part of the breast milk sample that they took to the lab. Obviously it's more toxic for a child because you're dealing with a smaller body mass, and depending on the level of concentration, it could be lethal," Chief Pacholec said.
The biological father approached authorities with concerns months ago, which police say were strong enough for them to launch their investigation.
Chief Pacholec said, "I can't comment on the details of the information he brought us."
After being arraigned in Town of Orchard Park Court, Lawton was taken to the Erie County Holding Center on $50,000 bail. She is due back in court next week.
Lawton lives alone and often spoke with Gary Dunham, a neighbor from across the street. News of her arrest took Dunham by surprise, who called her friendly and caring.
"If you knew her, you'd never guess anything like that. So I find it hard to believe," he said.
Detectives used undercover tactics in this case, and Child Protective Services in both Erie and Chautauqua counties have been involved.
Police say the infant boy is okay and in the care of his biological father.
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