DA believes mom accused of putting ethanol in baby’s milk is innocent

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – An Orchard Park mother accused of putting pure alcohol into her baby’s milk has been cleared of all charges, and the District Attorney says he believes Kimberly Lawton is innocent.

The 36-year-old was locked up last fall and had her baby taken away after ethanol was found in her child’s baby bottles. But last week the charges were dropped and now we’re learning more information about why.

Lawton lived alone her Orchard Park home and had been going through a custody battle with her ex-husband, who’s a southern tier business owner. He’s the one who brought the bottles to police.

“The first problem is, you don’t know what he did with the bottles before that,” Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said.

And Sedita says the second issue was the bottles stayed in police custody for two weeks before being sent to a State Police lab, where they sat for two months before being tested. Over time, ethanol develops naturally as part of the fermentation process.

Sedita said, “There was ethanol in the baby bottles, but the ethanol was probably produced by a natural fermentation process or not. The amount of ethanol in the baby bottles was harmless.”

The DA says the amount of ethanol was consistent with what you might find in outdated fruit juice.

“Even if the ethanol was produced by unnatural sources, it would not have been harmful to the child,” he explained. “One of the things we do in the District Attorney’s Office is we are not a rubber stamp for anybody. We do an independent review of every case, especially every felony case, to make sure there is sufficient evidence to prosecute someone.”

Lawton goes back to court later this week to regain custody of her baby boy, who is now a year old.

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