In the latest story to come out of the opioid epidemic that might make you question your faith in a just universe, police in Pennsylvania say a mother killed her toddler by giving her a drink in a sippy cup that was laced with fentanyl.
It was unclear how the drug got into the child’s sippy cup before the young girl’s death this spring. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the young girl’s mother called it a “happy drink.”
“Pittsburgh police officers responding to a call for a baby who wasn’t breathing discovered the red liquid in April inside a pink sippy cup on 17-month-old Charlette Napper-Talley’s bed in her East Hills apartment,” the paper reported Sunday.
“Days after Charlette died in the hospital, the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office got results from two tests; they both indicated the presence of fentanyl in the toddler’s blood, as did another screening in May by an independent lab.
“The inside of the sippy cup also tested positive for fentanyl, police said, and on Friday the medical examiner’s office listed Charlette’s April 5 death as a homicide due to fentanyl poisoning.”
Jhenea Pratt, 23, now stands charged with homicide in Charlette’s death, as well as endangering the welfare of a child.
According to the Post Gazette, investigators said Pratt and her boyfriend, Albert Williams, were the only two individuals who were in charge of Charlette on the day she died. Wiliiams said he was watching her during the day while Pratt was attending classes. He told investigators he fed the gave and and gave her a drink from the sippy cup.
The two picked Pratt up from class and Williams left, apparently to buy marijuana for Pratt.
Pratt says she put her daughter down and gave her some juice from the sippy cup. She then went to smoke marijuana and when she checked on her daughter an hour later, she wasn’t breathing.
Both Williams and Pratt say they weren’t using or handling fentanyl or opioids.
When asked about fentanyl, she said that the fruit drink had tasted funny to her earlier in the day.
Williams has apparently been eliminated as a suspect: “Investigators said that while Mr. Williams did give Charlette a drink in the cup, she drank from it before noon and ‘would have died very shortly after ingesting (fentanyl).’ Charlette did not stop breathing until around 6 p.m. — hours after Mr. Williams left the apartment, according to the affidavit.”
Pratt was taken into custody Friday night.
No matter what the outcome, this is a sick, sad case.
Let’s hope little Charlette gets the justice she deserved for the life she never got to live.
Let’s also hope that our law enforcement can stop the epidemic of fentanyl and other opioids before things get worse.
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