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Child dies of suspected fentanyl overdose, parents arrested

By Via AP news wire
ASSOCIATED PRESS

The parents of a 15-month-old toddler were arrested for her death after the child was found unresponsive in their Northern California home where police found drug paraphernalia and fentanyl, authorities said.

Evan Frostick, 26, and Madison Bernard, 23, were arrested at their Santa Rosa apartment and booked for alleged cruelty to a child likely to produce great bodily injury or death, Santa Rosa Police Sgt. Christian Mahurin said Wednesday.

Authorities may file manslaughter charges based on the results of an autopsy and toxicology test on the toddler expected in the next few weeks, he said.

Mahurin said he didn't know if the child's parents have retained attorneys to speak on their behalf. They are scheduled to be arraigned later Wednesday and could be assigned a public defender if they can't afford an attorney, he said.

Santa Rosa police officers, fire officials and emergency crews responded to the family's apartment Monday after Bernard called 911 to report her child was unresponsive, Mahurin said.

“The main concern was that the toddler was in a bed and in a bedroom that had both paraphernalia for fentanyl and fentanyl in the room and sprinkled on the bed,” he said.

After serving a search warrant, detectives found 2½ to 3 grams of suspected fentanyl and paraphernalia in a bedroom, including on the bed the child shared with her parents, and on the floor where the child often played, Mahurin said.

“Anything from 2 milligrams or more can be considered a lethal dose so, having that much just lying around can be incredibly dangerous,” he said.

Mahurin said there is a growing concern about children being exposed to fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid used for pain relief that has been blamed for a spike in San Francisco Bay Area overdoses.

“We understand that people use recreational drugs. We also understand that people with addiction and substance issues use drugs regularly. We understand adults make those choices and those decisions, but really keeping them out of the reach of children is one of our primary concerns,” he said.

In 2019, Patrick O’Neill, 29, and his 13-month-old son, Liam, died of fentanyl overdoses. Federal prosecutors charged three people with the distribution of fentanyl in relation to the deaths and linked the drugs to a network of dealers in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. They were sentenced to between six and eight years in federal prison.

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Dive Deeper:
Decriminalizing fentanyl testing strips
Georgia joins the list of states decriminalizing the use of fentanyl testing strips as the drug’s scourge spreads
San Jose suspects tried kidnapping baby 3 times before they succeeded, prosecutors say
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Two people, including a family friend, accused of kidnapping a 3-month-old San Jose boy last month…
Seven early signs of hepatitis Irish parents need to know as child dies amid mystery spike in cases
To prevent infection, children — or anyone who has not been previously vaccinated — should be vaccinated against hepatitis B…
Can a monthly injection be the key to curbing addiction? These experts say yes
OAKLAND, Calif. — Dr. Andrew Herring has a clear goal walking into every appointment with patients seeking medication to treat…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
3-year-old girl’s grandfather, uncle arrested in alleged exorcism death
SAN JOSE — The grandfather and uncle of a three-year-old girl killed last fall in an alleged exorcism were arrested…
‘Completely devastating’: US passes 1m overdose deaths since records began
2021 was a record year for overdose deaths with an estimated 107,622, CDC says, an increase of 15% from the…
Get all your news in one place