A 25-year-old former medical assistant on probation for a similar crime laced her breast milk with morphine and fed it to her 2-month-old daughter in an effort to attract the attention of the child's father, authorities alleged Thursday.
Sarah Rose Dillard-Lubin, of Aloha, was on probation from California for feeding her son, who was 10 months old at the time, two opiate pills, officials said.
Both children survived.
In both cases, Dillard-Lubin was trying to attract the attention of the child's father — a different man in each case, said Sgt. David Thompson of the Washington County sheriff's office.
Dillard-Lubin was indicted Wednesday. She pleaded not guilty to assault charges on Thursday, said her lawyer, Dean Smith. He said he could not comment further.
A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, Jane Robison, said Dillard-Lubin pleaded no contest to a count of child abuse in 2006.
In the Oregon case, Thompson said, the father of the 2-month-old didn't come to the hospital with Dillard-Lubin when she took the child to the emergency room.
"He hadn't paid attention to her and the child that she expected," Thompson said.
He said the Los Angeles case involved a similar motive. Robison said she couldn't immediately confirm that.
Dillard-Lubin's former husband said he never got an answer from her that meshed with the Los Angeles investigators' theory, or that made sense to him.
"Many conversations we had before we divorced ... she never told me why," said Clifford Lubin, a 33-year-old restaurant manager. "She was a master of skirting around things."
Lubin said the two were together for a few years before their marriage, which lasted a year. He now has custody of their child. He said the boy is doing well.
At St. Vincent's Hospital in June, doctors admitted the 2-month-old for observation, although they couldn't detect the fever that Dillard-Lubin said she had. The next morning, a nurse found the child barely breathing. The baby survived, but her condition puzzled doctors until toxicology tests came back positive for opiates.
Dillard-Lubin told the hospital that she was on a pain killer and the opiates must have come through her breast milk, Thompson said. But lab tests of her milk turned up a high level of morphine, he said, indicating the drug had been added to it after pumping.
Thompson said Oregon child welfare workers took custody of the 2-month-old daughter.
Dr. Rupa Shah of the Oregon Pediatrics clinic said Dillard-Lubin was fired a few months ago for spending too much time on the telephone. Dillard-Lubin had worked at the clinic for more than a year checking patients' weight, height and blood pressure and escorting them to examination rooms, she said.