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El Paso woman charged with lacing baby’s formula with opioids takes plea deal

Sapphire Araujo's mug shot from 2018.
El Paso Police Department
Sapphire Araujo's mug shot from 2018.

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- The El Paso woman accused of crushing Hydrocodone pills and mixing into the formula of a five-month-old baby reached a plea deal Tuesday morning.

Sapphire Elizabeth Araujo was sentenced to five years of deferred probation, fined $500 and ordered to take a parenting class. She was also sentenced to 80 hours of community service.

Police arrested Araujo on November 20, 2018. Police charged her with Abandoning or Endangering Child.

The criminal complaint obtained by ABC-7 states Araujo crushed the Hydrocodone pills, mixed the crushed pills with baby formula, then poured the formula in a bottle. Araujo then fed the baby formula to the 5-month-old infant “with the intent of causing the victim to die,” El Paso Police wrote in the complaint.

Hydrocodone is a narcotic used to treat pain. Medical websites online state the narcotic is addictive and can lead to respiratory distress, even death, when taken in high doses. The criminal complaint states investigators obtained a hair follicle from the victim and it tested positive for opiates “at a level of >9800, >9800 being on the high use end on the hair dose response chart.”

The El Paso Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit began its investigation into Araujo after receiving a report from Child Protective Services. CPS was alerted by an adoption and pregnancy counselor with Hope Cottage Adoption Center.

The criminal complaint states Araujo told the counselor she “was feeling overwhelmed,” planned to commit suicide and “intended to take the (baby’s) life as well.”

Araujo also told the counselors she got a tattoo on her right forearm of a heart hanging from a dead tree. The tattoo was meant to be her suicide note, the criminal complaint states.

The court document further states Araujo has Hydrocodone pills left over from a previous C-section surgery and decided to use the pills to kill the baby because “she did not want the child to feel pain.”

Police said the baby was treated at a local hospital and has since recovered. In an email to ABC-7 in 2018, Hope Cottage CEO Brooks Quinlan stated Araujo is the child’s biological mother.

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Mauricio Casillas

El Paso native Mauricio Casillas co-anchors ABC-7’s Good Morning El Paso.

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