Harlem Baby Dies After Falling Into Bucket of Mother's Vomit

A baby died after rolling off a bed and falling into a bucket of her teenage mother's vomit at a homeless shelter, police said.

The mother, Savarin DeJesus, 18, was charged with criminally negligent homicide and endangering the welfare of a child, and could get five years behind bars.

The young woman trembled and wept as she faced a judge Friday. "I loved my baby. I want you to know that," she said.

Authorities said DeJesus spent the evening of Sept. 15 downing gin and smoking cigarettes and then returned before dawn to the shelter where she lived with the 4-month old girl, Niah. DeJesus threw up into a bucket of cleaning solution next to her bed, then passed out on the bed, clutching Niah's legs, authorities said.

When she awoke about 10 hours later, she found the baby with her head in the bucket, which contained about six inches of liquid, according to court papers.

The cause of death was either asphyxiation or drowning, the medical examiner's office said.

DeJesus "loved her baby and would never hurt her," said her lawyer, Kenneth Gilbert.

The city's Department of Homeless Services said it was trying to determine if the East Harlem shelter had a crib.