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Pregnant inmate to remain locked up to protect unborn child, court says

Pregnant inmate to remain locked up to protect unborn child, court says

From the ICYMI: Here are the most-read stories from the past week series

Alysha Ramos mug shots (left to right) from 2008, 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2020.

VALPARAISO — A 29-year-old pregnant Valparaiso woman with a long history of substance abuse problems was denied release from jail Wednesday morning after her mother testified the unborn child's life would be at risk if her daughter was set free.

"That baby will end up dying, I guarantee it," Deborah Vivian told the court, referring to the child of her daughter, Alysha Ramos.

Vivian said she has custody of two of her daughter's children and testified that Ramos has shown very little interest in and concern for the welfare of these children and another in the care of someone else. She also voiced concern about the home where Ramos would be living if released from jail.

Valpo woman locked up to protect unborn child, judge says

"She sees her children as a get-out-of-jail-free card," Vivian said.

Ramos, who has been locked up at the Porter County Jail since Feb. 14 after allegedly violating her probation by testing positive on Jan. 24 for methamphetamine use and of falling behind in paying probation user fees and clerk costs, had requested to be released on her own recognizance.

Ramos has been a frequent visitor to the courts since her initial 2008 offense of driving while drunk and causing a crash that resulted in the death of her close friend, 17-year-old Alisha Purnick.

Her defense attorney, Mark Worthley, argued Wednesday that Ramos has tested fine with other repeated drug tests and dismissed Vivian's claims as "family issues."

Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Rebecca Buitendorp said Ramos has had five positive drug screens since May.

"I think she is a danger to this child," Buitendorp said.

Porter Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Clymer acknowledged the negative drug screens, but voiced concern about the few positive ones.

"One drug use can kill the baby," he said.

Woman responsible for fatal DUI crash again facing drug allegations

While leaving Ramos behind bars poses its own risks, such as exposure to the coronavirus as she is transported back and forth for prenatal care, the risk of her drug use is a greater threat, he said.

A hearing is scheduled for May 15 on the allegations of the January positive drug test.

UPDATE: Crown Point hospital treating 4 coronavirus patients; Region has at least 26 confirmed cases

Ramos has repeatedly failed to comply with court orders since being sentenced in the 2008 death case to two years of home detention and 57 months of probation. She went on to violate her probation three times using drugs, and after being sent to a local residential treatment facility along the way, was released from probation unsatisfactorily in 2015 rather than being sent to prison.

The current allegations were filed as a violation of the probation she was given in January when sentenced by Clymer on drug-related charges stemming back to October 2018. She was accused in that case of allowing illegal drugs to be sold in the presence of her 6-year-old child, in addition to various heroin and marijuana charges.

Ramos was given 1,868 days of probation after pleading guilty to felony counts of neglect of a dependent and possession of a hypodermic needle.

Recent arrests booked into Porter County Jail

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.

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