Mom who had heroin-addicted baby who lived 9 days gets 30 years for his death

BALTIMORE — A Baltimore woman whose baby was likely born addicted to heroin and survived only nine days will serve 30 years in prison.

The Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City said in a Monday release Anne Kirsch was sentenced to 75 years in prison, with 45 suspended, after she was convicted of manslaughter and child abuse resulting in death in 2017:

“Anne Kirsch was sentenced to 75 years in prison, suspend all but 30 years, after being convicted in a 2017 bench trial of manslaughter and child abuse resulting in death.

Special Victims Unit Chief Anne Colt Leitess prosecuted the case.

Kirsch gave birth to the victim— Matthew Kirsch Jr.—on October 11, 2015 in the repair bay of an auto repair shop where she worked. Paramedics were called to a Groveland Avenue address on October 20, 2015—nine days after the child’s birth. Upon arrival, first responders found the newborn infant unresponsive and transferred him to Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at approximately 10:30 a.m.

The Baltimore Police Homicide Division investigated the child’s death.

Mrs. Kirsch admitted using heroin during the early stages of her pregnancy, as well as the night before Baby Matthew died.

Authorities said the child was likely born with a heroin addiction, and suffered severe withdrawal symptoms and physical pain. The child never received medical attention, and the medical examiner determined that the victim had only been fed sporadically during the short time he was alive.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled that the child’s death was a homicide caused by both abuse and neglect. An autopsy revealed that the child had suffered from blunt force trauma—consistent with the victim’s head slamming against a flat surface—which caused a traumatic brain injury. Examiners also found that Matthew’s stomach content was empty except for gastric fluid, with no indication of nutrition in the digestive track.

Kirsich’s husband, Matthew Kirsich Sr., pled guilty to child abuse resulting in death. He was sentenced to 25 years’ incarceration,  suspend all but 15 years, for his failure to take the child in for medical care after the child was born.

“As a mother, it is hard to understand how the maternal instinct to nurture and protect did not kick-in for this mother—and my heart breaks that this child suffered through nine days of heroin withdrawals, blunt force trauma, and starvation,” said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “Both parents had an obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of the life they chose to bring into this world. Now they will suffer the consequences of those deplorable choices.”

Kirsch admitted to using heroin during the early stages of her pregnancy, as well as the night before Matthew Kirsch Jr. died in 2015. An autopsy revealed that the child had suffered blunt force trauma and had no indication of nutrition in his digestive tract.

Kirsch’s husband, Matthew Kirsch Sr., will serve 15 years after he pleaded guilty to failing to take his son in for medical care.