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Thursday, February 20, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Mother steals daughter’s placenta to conceal possible drug use

UPDATED: Wed., July 12, 2017

Associated Press

CALDWELL, Idaho – A woman accused of stealing the placenta and umbilical cord after her daughter gave birth at an Idaho hospital in an attempt to conceal any possible drug use that could result in the baby being taken away is facing charges.

Rhiannon Stoneham is charged with felony destruction of evidence. Her husband, Kevin Stoneham, is charged with felony aiding and abetting destruction of evidence.

The child was placed in the care of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Authorities told KIVI-TV in a story on Wednesday that hospital workers in Caldwell were concerned the daughter had been using drugs before giving birth on July 3, and doctors ordered testing on the placenta, cord and cord blood. But when they went back to recover the items, they were gone.

Police said they viewed video from a surveillance camera and saw Rhiannon Stoneham, “conceal something in her arms and walk out of the hospital to a vehicle and leave the scene.”

When the vehicle returned to the parking lot, police confronted the people inside.

Police said that Rhiannon Stoneman told officers that she was afraid a friend had spiked her daughter’s drink with methamphetamine when her daughter went to buy marijuana from the friend. She said her daughter told her she felt like she was high on meth.

Rhiannon Stoneman, police said, told them she knew the baby would be taken away if the placenta was tested for drugs. She told police she put the placenta and umbilical cord into a trash bin near a fast food restaurant.

Police said Kevin Stoneham told officers he noticed Rhiannon “panicking” in the hallway and asked him to “take the bag with the placenta out of the room.”

He refused and went to his truck in the parking lot. A short time later Rhiannon Stoneham came out of the hospital with a bag and he drove to the restaurant where Rhiannon discarded the bag with the placenta.

Rhiannon Stoneham is scheduled to appear in court on July 19. Court records say James Vavrek is her Canyon County public defender. That office didn’t return a call from The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Kevin Stoneham is also scheduled to appear in court on July 19. It’s not clear if he has an attorney.

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