ALFRED (AP) – A Massachusetts woman accused of shaking her 9-month-old daughter to death after losing and then regaining custody of the baby will soon return to her home state to face a murder charge.

Jennifer Ward of Peabody, Mass., waived extradition Wednesday in a hearing via video conference from the York County Jail, where she’s being held. She is expected to be returned to Massachusetts by next Tuesday.

Her arraignment in Salem Superior Court in Massachusetts had not been scheduled as of Wednesday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Essex district attorney’s office said.

Ward, 37, was arrested Friday at her parents’ home in Kennebunk after a grand jury returned a murder indictment. Jocelyn Ward Anderson died from shaken-baby syndrome on Nov. 21 at Children’s Hospital in Boston, according to the district attorney’s office.

Ward was allowed to take the baby home in March shortly after birth even though both tested positive for drugs, under the condition that she undergo treatment for drug use, according to a statement released Wednesday by the Massachusetts Department of Social Services.

Later in March, Jocelyn was taken from Ward and was placed in foster care because of a report of neglect, according to the agency. Ward completed a drug treatment and parenting education program, and in July was granted custody in Lynn Juvenile Court. The court dismissed the care and protection order in September, according to the DSS statement.

Thomas Barrett, Ward’s attorney, did not immediately return a call left at his office in Salem, Mass. on Wednesday.

The Department of Social Services has come under fire in recent years for a number of cases in which children died while under the care or supervision of the agency.

After the baby’s death, DSS spokesman Richard Nangle wrote in a statement e-mailed to media outlets that the case was typical in many ways in that the baby was taken away, the mother did what was asked of her, and the baby was then returned to the mother.

In this case, everyone thought it was a success story, Nangle wrote.

AP-ES-12-26-07 1758EST


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