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Police: Macon mother admitted smoking dope before son's death

Jace Hamblen, 4, of Macon, was found face down and unresponsive in his home's bathtub over Labor Day Weekend. (Macon County Sheriff's Office)

KTVO learned new information Wednesday about the case of a northeast Missouri mother charged in the death of her young son over Labor Day Weekend.

Court documents state that Jace Hamblen, 4, of Macon, was found face down and unresponsive in the bathtub at his home on September 3, 2017.

The little boy later died at a Columbia hospital.

Court papers indicate that Jace's mother, Ashley Nicole Hamblen, 31, of Macon, admitted to police that she had been using drugs and drinking alcohol prior to the emergency call placed regarding her unresponsive son.

Hamblen was charged Monday with felony Endangering the Welfare of a Child.

She also faces five charges of Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and one felony count of Possession of a Controlled Substance.

The day after the call for help, investigators interviewed Ashley Hamblen's six-year-old child. That child told police that on the day of the incident, Hamblen had been out on the front porch watching a TV show for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, while Jace was in the bathtub unsupervised, yelling for his mother.

Police said in court documents that Jace later died from his injuries suffered during the time he was left unattended in the tub.

On the day of the tragedy, a police officer drove Ashley Hamblen to the hospital in Macon where her son had been taken.

The officer said he could smell the odor of intoxicants on Hamblen's breath.

Police spoke with a friend of Ashley Hamblen's at the hospital. She told authorities Hamblen had been drinking and the two of them had smoked marijuana within two hours before the tragedy.

Police then got a search warrant for Hamblen's home and found marijuana and drug paraphernalia. They also discovered a cooler with beer located by the front steps leading to the porch.

After her arrest Monday, Hamblen was being held on $100,000 cash-only bond, but she was released Tuesday on her own recognizance per a judge's order.

Macon County Coroner Brian Hayes told KTVO Tuesday that the state medical examiner still hasn't ruled on a cause of death for Jace Hamblen.

Ashley Hamblen's preliminary hearing is scheduled for 10 a.m. on October 17, 2017.

She has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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