Murder charge filed against mother accused of giving birth in a Centralia hotel room, failing to get baby timely medical care 


A woman accused of giving birth to a baby in a Centralia hotel room in August 2022 and not getting the baby, who died of drug toxicity, timely medical care was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree criminal mistreatment in Lewis County Superior Court on Tuesday. 

The woman, identified as Amy Denae Dixson, 39, of Shelton, allegedly told law enforcement “she did not immediately summons help for the child after birth because she had active warrants for her arrest,” according to court documents. 

She did call for help about two hours after the birth, according to documents filed in Lewis County Superior Court, which indicate the Centralia Police Department responded to a call from Dixson on Aug. 20, 2022. 

At the time, Dixson reportedly indicated she gave birth in a hotel room, “tied off the umbilical cord with a shoestring,” cut the umbilical cord, then fell asleep for approximately two hours “and, when she awoke, the child was having difficulty breathing.” 

The child was transported to the hospital but did not survive. 

A pathologist later determined the baby’s death was attributed to mixed fentanyl, acetyl fentanyl, meth and heroin toxicity “among other things,” according to court documents. 

Toxicology reports of blood from the umbilical cord and cardiac samples from the baby reportedly showed significant amounts of methamphetamine, amphetamine, morphine and carboxy-THC in the baby’s system at the time of their death. 

While Lewis County Superior Court Judge Joely Yeagher asked the prosecuting and defense attorneys why the case and associated arrest warrant were only filed this week when the alleged incident took place over a year ago, a clear answer wasn’t provided Tuesday afternoon. 

Dixson had been “out of the area for quite some time” when the toxicology tests came back, but law enforcement personnel eventually learned she was residing in Thurston County and located her on Monday, Oct. 2, according to court documents. 

Jail records indicate Dixson was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail at 11:55 a.m. that day. 

According to Deputy Prosecutor Karin Phomma, Child Protective Services (CPS) was searching for Dixson for 13 months for an unrelated dependency matter prior to her Oct. 2 arrest on the superior court case. 

When questioned about the drugs found in the baby’s system, Dixson allegedly “admitted she was using methamphetamine during the time her baby was born” and said “the methamphetamine she used must have been laced with all the other drugs found in the baby’s system.” 

When asked why she didn’t tell first responders she was using meth when the baby was born, Dixson allegedly “stated she was embarrassed to say anything.” 

Yeagher set Dixson’s bail at $500,000 on Tuesday, Oct. 3, due to her criminal history — which includes 39 felony convictions under multiple aliases — as well as the severity of the allegations and Dixson’s financial situation. The prosecution had asked for $1 million bail and the defense had asked for bail to be set no higher than $100,000. 

Yeagher also approved a release condition Tuesday preventing Dixson from having any contact with minors, including her 3-year-old son who is currently in CPS custody, until her case is resolved. 

Dixson verbally disagreed with that condition and the charges during her preliminary hearing in Lewis County Superior Court on Tuesday. 

“I may have a drug problem but I am not a bad mother,” Dixson said, adding that her son “needs to know that I’m still around, that I didn’t just disappear.”

Dixson additionally expressed interest in seeking substance use disorder treatment and said she would be better able to do that if she were out of custody. 

Yeagher advised Dixson the jail offers substance use disorder treatment services and told Dixson the condition involving contact with children could be addressed in dependency court at a later time. 

Arraignment is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 12.