A Tucson television reporter and her husband — also a local TV reporter — are in serious criminal trouble this week after their four-month-old daughter tested positive for cocaine.
The mom and dad are Krystin Lisaius and Somchai P. Lisaius, reports Tucson CBS affiliate KOLD-TV.
The circumstances that led authorities to test the little girl and her parents for cocaine unfolded early last month.
On May 15, the Lisaiuses showed up at Oro Valley Hospital with their infant daughter in tow. The little baby was “unable to wake up” and “ragdoll-like,” Krystin Lisaius told hospital staffers. Her “eyes were rolling” up in the back of her tiny head, the worried mother said.
Lisaius did not want staffers to draw blood from the baby girl.
Against the advice of doctors, Lisaius and her husband left the hospital. The parents did agree to have their daughter evaluated at another hospital.
Lisaius and her husband also refused any blood tests at the second hospital.
Eventually, Lisaius and her husband fessed up to their cocaine use.
Krystin Lisaius said she ingested the cocaine the usual way, by “snorting it” — using a rolled-up store receipt — after a barbecue at her home on May 14.
She told a social worker she waited a whole 12 hours after snorting the cocaine before deciding it would be a good idea to breastfeed her baby daughter.
Eventually, police officers obtained a search warrant and performed blood tests on Krystin Lisaius and Somchai Lisaius. There were also hair tests.
Tests were also performed on the infant girl.
A man named Thomas — a friend of the Lisaiuses and the godfather of the little girl — was present when the Krystin Lisaius consumed the cocaine.
“I saw her do one line, tops,” Thomas swore to police.
On May 16, local police searched the Lisaius home pursuant to a search warrant. They found about two grams of cocaine — in a clear baggie and on the edge of a Hilton Hotel honors card. That’s about $100 worth of the drug, assuming it was purchased locally.
Somchai Lisaius said he consumes cocaine “every six weeks or so.”
A search of his black BMW turned up no cocaine residue.
Somchai Lisaius lost his job as a television crime reporter at a local station because of the incident, according to Tucson Weekly.
The job status of Krystin Lisaius is not clear, but local press consistently refers to her as a “former reporter.”
Officially, the infant girl is now in the child is in the custody of the Arizona Department of Child Safety. As a practical matter, though, she currently is living with her grandmother — Krystin Lisaius’s mother.
Doctors say the baby’s status is good and they expect her to recover completely.
Krystin Lisaius has round-the-clock visiting privileges with the baby. Somchai Lisaiu can see his daughter 12 hours each day.
The Lisaiuses were indicted on June 9. They face three felony charges: child abuse with death or serious physical injury likely, possession of a narcotic drug and possession of drug paraphernalia.
A lawyer representing the coke-using parents, Michael Piccarreta, said “it would be a gross, gross injustice” to send his clients to prisons, according to KOLD-TV.
“I anticipate they will demonstrate that they have learned a very hard, embarrassing lesson and that this will become a footnote in their life, not a chapter,” Piccarreta said.
“The facts are that these are excellent parents,” Piccarreta also claimed, according to Tucson Weekly.
The Lisaiuses pleaded not guilty in a Monday court appearance. The presiding judge released them on their own recognizance.