Pregnant woman charged with November death of infant son

SHARE Pregnant woman charged with November death of infant son
ellis_morgan.jpg

Morgan Ellis | Chicago Police

A pregnant woman has been charged with giving her one-year-old son a fatal dose of morphine last November at their home in the West Side Austin neighborhood.

Morgan Ellis, 24, is charged with one felony count of child endangerment leading to death, according to Chicago Police.

Ellis lived with her son, 1-year-old Makhari James, in the 4900 block of West Augusta Boulevard along with her uncle and aunt, according to Cook County prosecutors and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. She was the primary caregiver for her son.

Ellis woke up on Nov. 18, 2015, and found her son unresponsive in the bed next to her, according to police Makhari was taken to West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park, where he died the next day, police said. He had no visible injuries, and an autopsy at the time was inconclusive pending further testing.

On Feb. 17, toxicology test results revealed that Makhari’s cause of death was morphine toxicity, but his manner of death (homicide or accident) remains undetermined, according to the medical examiner’s office.

Ellis’ aunt suffers from multiple medical conditions requiring prescription medications, including morphine, prosecutors said. Liquid morphine was stored in the refrigerator and morphine pills were stored on a dresser in the aunt’s bedroom.

Prosecutors said the morphine was kept out of the infant’s reach and both the liquid and pill containers had safety locks.

Ellis was taken into custody Monday and admitted giving her son “Good Sleep,” an herbal adult sleep aid, with his juice the night before his death and once earlier in the week, prosecutors said. She admitted the morphine and the sleep aid were both kept in the refrigerator.

But the morphine and sleep aid were both recovered from the refrigerator and were “distinctively different in appearance,” prosecutors said.

Ellis’ public defender said she graduated from a Georgia high school in 2009 and is studying communications at the University of Illinois in Springfield. She is currently pregnant.

Judge Maria Kuriakos-Cecil ordered Ellis held on a $100,000 bond Wednesday.

The Latest
Chase Audige scored 24 points as the Wildcats won their third straight. Their 15th win matched last season’s total.
It wasn’t pretty in the fourth quarter — the Bulls watched a 25-point lead slip to five — but they took some baby steps to pull off the victory. It’s still a “little disturbing,” point guard Goran Dragic said.
Juniors Cam Cerese, Dennasio LaGioia and Tommy Rochford led the Lancers to the win against one of the best teams in Fenton school history.
Tyler Kolek had 24 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the Golden Eagles, who moved into a tie with No. 13 Xavier atop the Big East.
Mayer tied his career high with five three-pointers and Jayden Epps added 13 points for the Fighting Illini, who have won six of their last seven.