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NY mother, boyfriend charged after heroin, cocaine allegedly kills child

KINGSBURY, N.Y. - Two people have been charged in the overdose death of a 13-month-old New York girl who ingested heroin and cocaine.

The Post-Star of Glens Falls reports the baby's mother, 27-year-old Rachel Ball, and 34-year-old Joshua Bennett, were charged Thursday with second-degree murder, manslaughter and assault. The couple is not accused of intentionally killing the child, but the murder charge alleges they had ""depraved indifference to human life." Police say they believe the couple intentionally gave the child drugs.

The newspaper also reports that Ball and Bennett each face charges of tampering with evidence for allegedly bathing the child and changing both her diapers and her clothes after her death.

Authorities say Kayleigh Cassell died Feb. 22 in a home in the Warren County town of Kingsbury where Bennett was staying.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Sikirica says Kayleigh died of pneumonia and respiratory failure stemming from acute heroin and cocaine intoxication. He says the pneumonia is believed to have resulted from months of drug exposure.

Bennett pleaded not guilty at his morning arraignment. Ball was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday afternoon.

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