INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis mother is behind bars accused of neglect of a dependent resulting in the death of her 2-month-old daughter.

The arrest came nearly five months following the child’s death.

Police were first called to the suspect’s home on Burton Avenue in August of last year. The victim’s mother insisted the death was an accident caused by her kids playing on a couch with the baby.

After interviewing the suspect again this week, police claim the mother admitted to smothering her child in the couch cushions because the baby wouldn’t stop crying.

According to the affidavit, 32-year-old Dacia Lacey admitted to police this week that she was high on meth the day her daughter died, and the mother wanted the child to be quiet so she could get some sleep.

Booking photo for Dacia Lacey

“A mother claiming the reason she killed her child is because she was on meth isn’t going to get her anywhere,” said attorney Jack Crawford.

Crawford isn’t connected to the case but said even though Lacey claimed the death was an accident, as a primary caregiver she can still be held accountable for what happened inside the home.

“For the charge of neglect, you don’t need an intent to kill. You just need an act of neglect,” said Crawford.

While 2022 numbers haven’t been counted, a recent report from the Indiana Department of Child Services in 2021 claims on average of one child dies every week from confirmed claims of abuse or neglect across the state.

Statewide, 60 kids died as a direct result on caregiver maltreatment in 2021, resulting in 25 homicides. Both numbers increased compared to 2020.

“If you need a break, reach out for help,” said Sandy Runkle with Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.

Speaking about those numbers last week, Runkle encouraged families and neighbors to recognize and report signs of stress among caregivers that can lead to abuse or neglect.

“There’s lots of ways the community and friends or family can reach out, because we want to assume that parenting is hard,” said Runkle.

As for the child’s death, an autopsy performed on the 2-month-old victim ruled her cause of death to be undetermined. Lacey is due in court for an initial hearing on Friday.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, call the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline today at 1-800-800-5556. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. You can report abuse and neglect anonymously.