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Three arrested after neglect, drug exposure leads to death of infant 

Three arrested after neglect, drug exposure leads to death of infant

From left to right: Parents Shawn Luhm and Kayla Luhm of Heritage Ranch and Melissa Currie of Atascadero.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson announced Monday that authorities have arrested three people, parents Shawn Matthew Luhm, 38, Kayla Anne Luhm, 31, and Melissa Dawn Currie, 36, on May 14 in connection with the death of 8-month-old Heritage Ranch girl, Lillith Luhm.

On Feb. 4, sheriff’s deputies responded to the reports of an infant not breathing at a Heritage Ranch home. The infant was airlifted to Twin Cities Community Hospital and then later to a children’s hospital at Stanford University where she subsequently died. Doctors determined this was potentially a case of child neglect with exposure to fentanyl, the sheriff reports. Tests on the child came back positive for exposure to fentanyl and methamphetamine, he said.

During the course of the investigation, sheriff’s detectives received information the parents of the child, Shawn and Kayla Luhm, were suspected drug users. A search warrant was served at their home in Heritage Ranch where narcotics were discovered.

Additionally, through electronic forensic examinations, investigators discovered an attempt to clean the crime scene before detectives could serve the search warrant. Evidence also revealed the parent’s attempt to obtain narcotics while at the hospital where their daughter was being treated at Stanford, the sheriff reports.

Baby Lilith Luhm was born on June 8, 2020 – and was declared deceased on Feb. 10, 2021. She had originally been found unresponsive on Feb. 4 when she was still only seven months old. She lived until being declared dead on Feb. 10.

As a result of the three-month investigation, detectives arrested Shawn Luhm and Kayla Luhm for willful cruelty to a child with possible injury or death. Additionally, 36-year-old Melissa Currie of Atascadero was arrested as an accessory for willful cruelty to a child with possible injury or death for her involvement in the crime.

District Attorney Dan Dow announced that that felony child abuse charges have been filed against Shawn Luhm and Kayla Anne Luhm of Paso Robles related to the death of their daughter. Melissa Dawn Currie has been charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact for allegedly concealing evidence related to the child’s death.

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