Great-grandmother of deceased infant speaks to Action News

by: Kristy Wolski Updated:

Ware County Sheriff's Office

WARE COUNTY, Ga. - A Georgia couple is facing charges in the death of a 1-month-old baby boy

The baby's mother, Chelseay Lynn Arnold, and her boyfriend, Ashley Shawn Lee, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. 

The Ware County Sheriff's Office's investigation began June 23 when deputies found the boy dead at a home on Will Lee Road. 

The baby’s great-grandmother, Faye Rowell, told Action News she is still struggling with the loss.

“He was just a beautiful little boy,” she said. 

Rowell, who is Chelseay Arnold’s grandmother, said the baby died at her home while she was gone for the night.  

“I walked in the door that morning and they told me and so we called 911,” she said. 

The autopsy report showed the baby died from asphyxia due to an adverse sleep environment. 

Authorities said Arnold and Lee had been under the influence of methamphetamine and sharing the same bed with the baby at the time of his death. Lee also tested positive for THC, according to the Ware County Sheriff's Office. 

Rowell said she knew her granddaughter had trouble with drugs in the past, but she didn’t know she was still using. 

“You know, you don’t know what they’re doing,” she said. “Especially when you’re not around too much.” 

According to investigators, one witness admitted to using meth with the couple for several days prior to the baby's death, and after. One witness also said after the two found the baby unresponsive, they waited over 30 to 40 minutes before calling 911. 

Authorities arrested Arnold at her home in Ware County. Deputies arrested Lee in Bacon County. 

Both suspects are being held at the Ware County Jail. Despite everything, Rowell said she does not believe her granddaughter meant for this to happen. 

“She loved the baby. I know that,” Rowell said. 

Investigators said Arnold is already on state probation for several prior arrests, and Lee is on parole for a prior meth-related offense. 

"This was a tragic situation that could have been avoided in their care of that baby boy," said Ware County Sheriff Randy F. Royal.  "This arrest came when it did in order to ensure no one rushed to judgment and an in-depth investigation could be completed."