Police: Mom accused of infant’s fentanyl death kept drug in purse

The mother lost custody of two other kids in 2019. She routinely smoked in the same bed her new baby slept in, a search warrant says.


EVERETT — Sheriff’s detectives believe a 1-year-old girl “ingested” her mother’s fentanyl in an Everett hotel room, leading to the child’s death earlier this month, according to a new search warrant.

The mother, 37, reported she regularly smoked fentanyl in the same bed as her infant while living in a room at the Sunrise Inn at 8421 Evergreen Way, investigators said. She told deputies she kept the drug in her purse, in what a detective described as “an easy to open rubber container.”

Court records show the mother lost custody of two other children in 2019, when family members raised concerns about her longstanding drug, alcohol and mental health issues.

Apparently, she had given birth to another child since then.

Around 10:30 p.m. May 6, the girl was having trouble sleeping, according to the search warrant. Around 2 p.m. the next day, the mother noticed the child was wheezing and had brown liquid coming out of her nose, according to the search warrant.

The mother brought the child to Swedish Mill Creek around 5:30 p.m. because the girl was unresponsive, police say. The mother reportedly told hospital staff her daughter had been exposed to fentanyl. A nurse then reported the incident to police as possible child abuse.

Around 7 p.m., the mother was arrested at Swedish on a domestic violence warrant in an unrelated case.

The child was transported to Seattle Children’s Hospital. The girl had extensive brain damage and “flatlined” multiple times during the transfer, the search warrant says.

Around 2:45 a.m., the child died at Seattle Children’s, wrote Snohomish County sheriff’s detective Myles Bittinger. The mother had “no visible or noticeable reaction” when police informed her of her child’s death, according to the search warrant.

During an initial interview, investigators repeatedly asked the mother how the child could have been exposed to fentanyl. She had “no idea,” according to the warrant.

The mother reportedly told detectives she was a regular fentanyl user but took precautions to protect her child. The night before, she left her child with a friend and went into a different room to smoke, according to her account. She waited about 30 minutes before coming into contact with the 1-year-old, according to a search warrant.

The mom said she did not believe secondhand smoke was “that harmful,” but that she never smoked around her child and always washed her hands before touching her. However, she also told detectives the child usually sleeps in the motel bed where her and her friends usually smoke.

When detectives told the mother the child may have ingested the fentanyl if she smoked close enough, she responded “the research I did online said that can’t happen,” according to court documents.

She also suggested to investigators the child may have gotten a hold of a Tide laundry pod and bitten into it.

The mother has since then been released from Snohomish County Jail, according to jail records. Sheriff’s detectives have recommended charges of third-degree assault of a child and reckless endangerment, claiming she “recklessly possessed fentanyl and used fentanyl in a manner that created a substantial of serious physical injury or death.”

No formal charges had been filed as of Wednesday.

Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office was handling the autopsy and toxicology reports for the child.

The county has seen a spike in fentanyl overdoses in minors in recent years. In 2022, 10 people under the age of 19 overdosed from fentanyl, almost double the figure from 2020, according to the medical examiner’s office.

The cause and manner of death for the infant had not been confirmed as of Wednesday. The child’s name had not been publicly released.

The mother has a well documented history of addiction and mental health struggles. At age 16, she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, according to a declaration signed by the grandmother of two of the woman’s children in Snohomish County Superior Court.

The mother’s oldest daughter had lived in 22 places by the time she was 11 years old, according to the petition. In 2012, the daughter was placed in foster care for a year when the mother was charged with her first DUI.

The mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder during “a stay at a mental hospital” in 2016, according to the same document.

In 2017, the mother got into a drunken driving incident in Marysville with her girls in the car, according to court records.

In 2018, the grandmother filed a petition for permanent custody of her two young daughters, claiming her untreated issues caused her to be abusive and neglect her children. In the petition, the grandmother said the mother “cannot regularly exercise appropriate judgement for (a) child’s welfare when intoxicated.”

The mother did not respond to any claims against her in court in 2019.

The father of her second-oldest child wrote that he had “abdundant” concerns about the mother, “due to the poor choices she continuously makes.”

He wrote: “I believe that once (she) finds the support and mental help she needs, while sticking with the doctor’s plan, she’ll be less likely to make bad decisions at the expense of her children.”

Maya Tizon: 425-339-3434; maya.tizon@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @mayatizon.

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