Midwife charged in death of Custer County infant

Judy K. Jones, 66 of Irene, S.D., was arraigned in Custer County District Court Feb. 20 on three felony charges: manslaughter, practicing without a license and criminal impersonation. All three charges are Class III felonies. The charges against Jones stem from an incident in 2011, in which Jones was acting as a midwife in assisting a Custer County couple with the birth of their child. That child later died, allegedly due to improper care at birth by Jones. This is not the first brush with the law for Jones, and not the first time there has been suspicion surrounding the death of a baby she helped deliver. In 2003, Jones was convicted in South Dakota of acting as a nurse midwife without a license. According to South Dakota media sources, that state had ordered Jones to stop practicing as a midwife numerous times, dating back to 1995. One source claims that even the South Dakota Supreme Court ordered her to stop. But in 2001, a South Dakota infant Jones delivered, according to news sources, died in the hospital. Once again, South Dakota attempted to stop Jones from practicing. According to court records, in September 2011, Jones was in Custer County Nebraska, where she assisted in the birth of an infant after presenting herself as a qualified nurse midwife. The records say the baby boy developed medical problems shortly after birth and stopped breathing. In a statement by an investigating officer contained in court records, the infant’s parents reported that Jones failed to contact a doctor when their baby stopped breathing, and attempted to massage the infant herself. According to the documents, the emergency room doctor who examined the infant later at the hospital told investigators the baby was in grave condition when he was brought in by his parents. The baby was transported from the Broken Bow hospital to Kearney, and later to Omaha where he died. The records state that the doctor in Omaha looked into Jones after the baby had died, and discovered she is not licensed to practice in the state of Nebraska. Jones plead not guilty to all three charges against her during the Feb. 20 appearance. The case was set for jury trial June 9, 2014.