Pennsylvania mom Jhenea Pratt is behind bars and facing charges that she gave her toddler a fatal mixture of juice and the powerful narcotic fentanyl.
The 23-year-old Pittsburgh area woman was arrested after investigators found fentanyl in her 17-month-old daughter’s pink sippy cup, TribLive.com reported. Police were called to the home on April 5 after Pratt said her daughter wasn’t breathing, her lips were blue, and her skin was cold. The young girl, Charlette Napper-Talley, was declared dead after being rushed to a nearby hospital.
This week, Pratt was charged with homicide after investigators found the drug in the toddler’s juice. The toddler had a lethal amount of fentanyl in her blood, an autopsy had found. Jhenea Pratt said she had no idea how the drug had gotten in the young girl’s juice cup. Pratt’s boyfriend, Albert Williams, was babysitting the toddler while Jhenea was attending a local community college class.
Williams said he fed the girl and gave her the cup that had been in the refrigerator. Pratt said he had no idea that the juice was laced with drugs, but said it was red and “the same color as the happy drink that was in the fridge.”
A medical examiner said that the amount of fentanyl found in the juice would likely have killed the young girl very quickly.
This is not the first time that a toddler has suffered an overdose of the drug fentanyl, which is a powerful painkiller that has grown in popularity as the opioid epidemic deepens across America. Last year, 25-year-old Billie Jean Cottle was arrested after she was allegedly found passed out from a drug overdose — with her 17-month-old in her arms also suffering an overdose — according to The Inquisitr.
Paramedics were able to apply the drug Narcan to Cottle — which rapidly reverses the effects of an opioid overdose — and both the mother and child survived. Investigators determined that the mother had used methamphetamine and fentanyl.
At the time of her overdose, Cottle had a warrant for unlawful possession of a controlled substance. She was arrested on charges of aggravated battery and aggravated battery to a child, both felonies. Cottle was also charged with felony reckless conduct and endangering the life or health of a child, a misdemeanor.
Jhenea Pratt faces charges of criminal homicide and endangering the welfare of a child for the death of her young daughter. She is due in court on September 5 for a preliminary hearing.