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Two relatives charged in death of baby with fentanyl in her system

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Drug crimes have a lengthy reach. To be charged with a drug-related crime does not require proof of any direct action. The defendant must only be shown to have had access to a drug and having afforded the opportunity for the victim to take the drug. Two women in Spotsylvania were recently arrested and charged with various crimes in connection with the drug-related death of a nine-month old relative.

The incident

According to the local police department, a 911call was received at 12:47 p.m. reporting that a nine-month old girl had stopped breathing. Emergency responders were on the scene within a minute, but the baby had already stopped breathing.

The EMT attempted to revive the girl, and she was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition. Shortly after reaching the local hospital, she was flown to VCU Children’s Hospital in Richmond. She died two days later.

Doctors at the Richmond hospital reported that they found fentanyl in the baby’ circulatory system. A medical examiner must conduct a complete post-mortem examination before the cause of death can be officially determined.

Other evidence and criminal charges

Detectives obtained and served search warrants for the house where the child was found. They found multiple suspected narcotics. Another child in the home, a two-year-old, tested positive for cocaine. Two women, who are both relatives of the deceased child (one is a grandmother, the other is an aunt), were arrested and charged with various crimes.

The charges include felony murder and several others: four counts of child abuse, four counts of child endangerment, possession of drugs with intent to distribute, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Both women are currently incarcerated in the Rappahannock Regional Jail. The felony murder charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 40 years.

What could happen next?

The number of charges and potential for harsh sentences makes this case especially complex. The number of charges also heightens the likelihood of a successful plea agreement that can avoid the most severe punishment. An experienced criminal defense attorney can increase the likelihood of the defendants avoiding the maximum sentences.