The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

January 15, 2014

UPDATE: Police seeking mother in baby death case

By Scott Levine
Associate Editor

CLINTON — A man is being held on $1 million bond today after being charged with child endangerment causing a death.

Spencer James Smith, 24, was charged Monday in Scott County in connection with the death of a 13-month-old child in Clinton in September. The mother of the child, Precious Bailey, also named a co-defendant in the case, had an active warrant issued for her arrest Tuesday. As of this morning, there was no reported arrest.

Smith was arrested at the Residential Corrections Facility in Davenport. He was sentenced to that facility in January after pleading guilty to fraud in Clinton County.

Bettendorf Police said they worked with the Clinton Police Department on the case. Also, Bettendorf Police confirmed that Bailey no longer lives at the address she previously lived with her daughter at 2625 Hawthorne Drive in Bettendorf.

Anyone with information about Bailey's whereabouts should call the Bettendorf Police Department at (563) 344-4023.

Court records state that at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 21, the victim, identified as Marlee Lynn Tracy according to an obituary published in the Clinton Herald, was taken by private vehicle to Mercy Medical Center in Clinton by Tracy's parents, Smith and Bailey.

The child was unresponsive and having difficulty breathing, according to court documents. Medical tests revealed the victim had ingested an acute dose of methadone. Additional tests revealed the child had been exposed to methamphetamine.ʉ۬The child later died on Sept. 24 in Iowa City due to complications of having ingested the methadone.

Bailey had been prescribed methadone during substance abuse treatment and was caring for the child in Bettendorf during the time of the incident. According to court documents, Smith made plans with Bailey to take the child to Clinton to visit.

Bailey claimed to have mixed a dose of methadone in a bottle of Gatorade during her preparations to go to Clinton, and that the child drank "juice" like Gatorade, but would only drink out of a baby bottle or sippy cup unless assisted by an adult.

According to court documents, there was no explanation for the child to have accidentally ingested the methadone by herself without spilling the liquid all over herself and her immediate area.

At approximately 3:15 p.m. Sept. 21, a witness saw Bailey, Smith and the child at Walgreen's in Davenport. The witness stated the victim appeared lethargic and the witness could hear the victim struggling to breath. While at Walgreen's, Bailey purchased precursors to manufacture methamphetamine.

At 4:12 p.m. that day, another witness saw Bailey, Smith and the child check into a hotel in Clinton. The second witness also stated the child appeared lethargic and was having difficulty breathing.

Smith and Bailey claimed that Bailey stayed with the child in the hotel room while Smith picked up baby supplies.

Bailey claimed she discovered the child unresponsive and saw the child's lips were blue while Smith was away from the hotel room. Bailey and Smith said that Bailey called Smith to report the child's condition. A record of the call could not be found during the investigation.

During that time, a person sent Smith a text message requesting Smith to pick up additional precursors to manufacture meth.

Bettendorf police, who made the arrest, are claiming that Smith and Bailey created a risk to the child by exposing the child to meth and deprived the child of health care for at least three hours while the child was showing signs of being in respiratory distress.