Judge tosses charges against slain girl’s mom

By The Associated Press

CROWN POINT — A judge has cleared a northwestern Indiana woman of neglect charges stemming from the beating death of her 2-year-old daughter by the girl’s baby sitters.

The Lake County judge ruled Thursday that testimony in 31-year-old Melissa Swiontek’s trial this week showed she didn’t know about heroin use by her 18-year-old cousin and that woman’s 23-year-old boyfriend.

Those two have been convicted on charges for the 2009 slaying of Jada Justice, whose body was found encased in concrete in a swamp about two weeks after a relative reported her missing.

The Times reports the baby sitters testified that Swiontek knew about their routine use of marijuana, cocaine and prescription pills but not about their recent heroin abuse.

Prosecutors argued the Portage woman shouldn’t have left Jada with known drug users.

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