A Minnesota woman is accused of giving her 12-year-old daughter heroin on a consistent enough basis for the girl to be hospitalized for withdrawal.
Rebecca Rachelle Hill, 37, of Maple Grove, Minn. is charged with felony child endangerment, second-degree sale of a controlled substance and motor vehicle theft. She's also charged with a misdemeanor for giving police a false name.
According to the charges, Hill smoked heroin and marijuana with her daughter as much as three times per day over the past two or three weeks. The mother-daughter pair was homeless, often sleeping in their stolen vehicle.
Hill justified the drug use by telling police her 12-year-old daughter likes to do the same things she does. She said she continued to provide her daughter with heroin because she didn't want to see her suffer withdrawal symptoms.
The girl is still at the University of Minnesota's Amplatz Children's Hospital in Minneapolis, where she was transferred after going to Fairview Southdale in Edina with heroin withdrawal.
Child protection has been notified and Hill remains at the Hennepin County Jail, with bail set at $125,000.
The girl was with Hill on Oct. 14 when Hill was arrested for shoplifting at Mall of America -- one of three pending criminal cases against her. Police say the mother and daughter began crying and clinging to another during the arrest, but Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told FOX 9 News the emotional pain of separation is nothing compared to the agony of withdrawal.
"This is tragic," he said. "It's sad and troubling and shocks the conscious."
Police caught the two in Macy's, and they found a marijuana pipe and other drug paraphernalia -- along with stolen clothes -- in the car Hill is accused of stealing form her aunt.
"To say you've got to steal to go buy heroin to keep you from withdrawal when you started them in the first place is kind of unacceptable," Freeman said.
The girl's father told police he had to take his daughter to the hospital last week because she was suffering from withdrawal.
Adam Peterson, of the Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge, said the true irony in the case is that the person who should be most concerned about keeping her child away from drugs became the one to teach her daughter how to use them. Sadly, he said it's also not an isolated incident.
"I've met a few people that used frequently with their parents, where -- in a lot of situations -- their parents were the ones to introduce them to the substance," he said.