Police: New Pa. mom smoked bath salts in hospital maternity ward, stripped naked, bit cop

A new mother allegedly smoked bath salts in the maternity ward two days after giving birth, stripped naked, assaulted hospital staff and attempted to bite a police officer, according to a report from the Altoona Mirror.

Court documents show that assault, disorderly conduct and drug charges were filed yesterday against Blair County woman Carla Murphy, 31, who was recovering at the Altoona Regional maternity ward on June 17 when she allegedly began to yell expletives, becoming so aggressive that nursing staff called hospital police.

Doctors reportedly decided to keep Murphy for a mental health evaluation. While being walked to her room, she allegedly instead ran inside a bathroom, where police said she stripped naked and rolled around on the shower floor. Murphy was reportedly confused and could not answer basic questions, such as where she was.

Investigators said they found in Murphy’s purse a dismantled pen containing silver residue, a lighter and a white substance in a package wrapped in medical tape and marked “Disco,” a brand of the synthetic stimulant compound widely known as bath salts, which are now illegal to sell or possess in Pennsylvania.

Though hospital workers gave Murphy the anti-psychotic Haldol and asked her to sit on her bed, police said she continued to yell at staff and flail her arms. She then made a run for the door,allegedly pushing past nurses and officers and swinging her fists.

When hospital police got Murphy back into bed, she immediately stood up, punched a nurse, kicked an officer and tried to bite him as he attempted to restrain her, according to court documents obtained by the paper.

Murphy was then handcuffed and arrested. She was held down until the Haldol put her to sleep, but not before allegedly kicking another nurse in the chest.

Murphy was taken to Blair County Prison on a probation violation and an outstanding Sheriff’s Department warrant. She was released Tuesday on the probation violation and, according to the Mirror, remains free despite the multiple felony assault charges because hospital police declined to request a warrant for her arrest.

Altoona police and a caseworker from Blair County Children, Youth and Families visited Murphy’s home on June 17 after the incident occurred.

After obtaining permission from Murphy’s live-in boyfriend, Michael Stewart, police conducted a search. They allegedly found in the bedroom needles, tinfoil, a broken glass bottle containing brown residue and “Blizzard” containers, the word both a brand of bath salts and street slang for bath salts in general.

Police said Stewart admitted Murphy once had a problem with the synthetic stimulant, but said he thought she had stopped using.

Stewart is charged with paraphernalia possession. Both he and Murphy are scheduled for a preliminary hearing August 8 on the paraphernalia offenses.

Murphy has a lengthy criminal history, according to court documents. She was arrested on an outstanding warrant in January and subsequently slapped with drug charges after police found eight empty vials believed to be Blizzard along with three packets marked “White Rush,” one stamped “Black Diamond Novelty,” and one called “Atomic Blast,” according to the Altoona Mirror.

She pleaded guilty in April to drug paraphernalia possession and was sentenced to 12 months’ probation.

Murphy was also arrested twice last summer, in July for paraphernalia possession and in August for DUI with a blood alcohol content of .16 or higher, court documents show. She pleaded guilty to the former charge in a lower court in September 2011, but the case is still listed as “active” in Pennsylvania criminal court online records.

Murphy failed appear in court to answer to the DUI charge, which was the basis for her arrest in January. She pleaded guilty to defaulting on the court appearance this April and was sentenced to six months’ probation. She was also required to pay court costs and restitution in a separate civil judgement. The DUI case is also listed as active in court documents.

Murphy pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child in March 2011 for an incident in which two of her children and one other child under her supervision were reportedly found playing alone in an alley. She was sentenced to four months to a year in prison and 18 months’ probation.

Once a nurse’s aide, Murphy was fired from the Valley View Home in August of 2009 amid allegations she restrained an 87-year-old woman suffering from dementia with her own gown, though assault charges were thrown out at a preliminary hearing three months later for lack of evidence.

Murphy did plead guilty to robbery in June 2011 after sneaking back into the Valley View Home in April 2010 and ripping a Fentanyl patch off the back of an 86-year-old dementia sufferer. She was sentenced to one to 23 months in prison and five years’ probation.

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