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Baby killed by 'lethal breast milk'

06:30 Mon Aug 8 2011

A US mother has been charged with murder after her baby allegedly died from an overdose of methamphetamine found in her breast milk.

Maggie Jean Wortman claims she did not know that using meth while breastfeeding could harm her six-month-old baby Anthony Costa III, who died last year.

Wortman, 26, is pleading not guilty to the murder charge, claiming the meth found in Anthony's bloodstream did not cause his death, Wortman's attorney, M.C Bruce told ABC news.

Court documents show the Californian woman admitted using the drug two days before her child's death and while pregnant with the child, the Times-Standard of Eureka, California reported.

However, because meth only remains in the body for 11 hours, Wortman is claiming the drug did not kill the baby.

Methamphetamine is only active for nine to 12 hours but remains in the saliva for up to three days and urine for as many as five.