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Deputies: Intoxicated NE mother smothered son while sleeping

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Posted at 4:06 AM, May 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-31 00:09:36-04

WAVERLY, NE (KETV/CNN) – A woman in Nebraska turned herself in to authorities and was arrested in relation to the December 2017 death of her infant son.

Ashley Bean, the mother of a baby boy who died at 3 weeks old, was charged Wednesday with felony child abuse, punishable by up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The paternal grandmother of Axel Xavier Arizola, Lenor Lopez says she’s haunted by the fact she saw the baby and his mother the day before the infant died.

"She was just saying how tired she was, and the baby was a lot of work and whatever," Lopez said.

Lopez only got to hold Axel twice before he died.

An investigation began after deputies responded on December 17, 2017, to a report of an infant who was not breathing. When they arrived, they discovered the boy also had no pulse.

Axel later died at the hospital.

Deputies believe 35-year-old Bean had become highly intoxicated in the hours before the 911 call then fell asleep as she was breast-feeding the baby.

Eventually, Axel suffocated.

"This isn't a co-sleeping issue. This is an issue pertaining to an adult who was intoxicated to the point they were unable to take proper care of their 3-week-old,” said Capt. Ben Houchin with the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office.

According to court records, investigators believe Bean drank at least six shots of tequila with a friend. Her blood alcohol tested at .190, hours later at the hospital.

Lopez says the pain of Axel’s death runs deep.

"He was so precious. He was a beautiful baby,” she said. "Especially when it's your grandchild, it hurts."

But even in her grief, she will not speak negatively about Bean.

"I am not here to judge Ashley. I said there is somebody up higher that will judge her and that knows the truth," Lopez said.

However, investigators say they believe Bean “knowingly and intentionally placed her son in a situation that endangered his life.”

When Bean turned herself in, she reportedly had a blood alcohol content of .09, just over the legal limit to drive.

The judge set a $15,000 percentage bond on the condition Bean can’t drink alcohol.

Copyright 2018 KETV, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office via CNN. All rights reserved.