Parents of child who died of fentanyl charged with murder

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Northern California prosecutors have filed murder charges against the parents of a 15-month-old child who died in May after ingesting fentanyl. Authorities believe his mother had consumed it.

Prosecutors on Thursday also charged Evan Frostick, 26, and Madison Bernard, 23, with child cruelty and added a sentencing-enhancing charge alleging their actions deliberately caused the suffering of a child, a reported the Press Democrat.

The couple, who police described as boyfriend and girlfriend, were briefly arrested on suspicion of child cruelty on May 9, the day their daughter died, but were released two days later in the pending further investigation to determine if fentanyl played a role in the child’s death. death.

Frostick is represented by the Sonoma County Public Defender’s Office. They did not immediately return a message seeking comment on Friday. It was not immediately clear whether Bernard had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

The Sonoma County Coroner’s Office determined last month that “acute fentanyl poisoning” caused the death of 15-month-old Charlotte Frostick.

According to the coroner’s report, Bernard consumed fentanyl and fell asleep while drugs and paraphernalia were on the bed she shared with Charlotte in their Sonoma Avenue apartment.

Investigators believe Charlotte ingested the fentanyl by touching it and then possibly putting her hands in her mouth or eyes, the newspaper reported.

Charlotte Frostick died nearly three years after the opioid-related death of another Santa Rosa toddler.

In September 2019, fentanyl was charged in the deaths of 29-year-old Patrick O’Neill and his 13-month-old son, Liam, who were discovered in their Santa Rosa home.

Three defendants were charged with supplying O’Neill with the opioids. They were convicted in federal court on lesser charges of conspiring to distribute fentanyl.

In the city of Brentwood, a mother was charged with murder in Contra Costa County Superior Court after her 2-year-old son used fentanyl in November 2020. In July 2021, she did not contest a count of intentional homicide and was subsequently convicted. to 11 years in prison, according to court records.