A Pennsylvania mother is facing homicide charges after she gave her 17-month-old daughter a drink containing fentanyl in a sippy cup, police said.
Authorities arrested Jhenea Pratt, 23, on Friday and charged her with one count of homicide and one count of endangering the welfare of a child when her daughter, Charlette Napper-Talley, died after drinking the tainted beverage out of her sippy cup, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Police found the 17-month-old girl not breathing in Pratt’s Pittsburgh apartment in April, and discovered a pink sippy cup with red liquid on the toddler’s bed.
The Tribune-Review reported that officers performed CPR on the toddler until paramedics arrived to take Napper-Talley to a local hospital, where she later died.
Authorities performed tests on the sippy cup and an autopsy on Napper-Talley, finding traces of fentanyl in Napper-Talley’s blood and on the sippy cup. Officials ruled Napper-Talley’s death a homicide resulting from fentanyl poisoning.
Investigators say Pratt’s boyfriend, Albert Williams, had been watching the girl while Pratt was out attending a class. Williams said he gave the girl fish sticks and a drink in a sippy cup before picking up his girlfriend at school and returning home.
The boyfriend left shortly after arriving home to get marijuana for Pratt.
The toddler appeared to be fine until Pratt gave her a sippy cup filled with a drink before putting her to bed. Pratt said she smoked marijuana before finding her daughter unresponsive an hour later.
Investigators say Pratt gave her daughter the fentanyl-laced drink even though Williams also gave her a drink before noon.
“Jhenea Pratt was the only person present during the afternoon hours that was with Charlette,” according to the arrest affidavit. The 23-year-old told authorities her daughter may have died from drinking a fruit-flavored beverage that “tasted funny.”
Both Williams and Pratt denied using, storing, or transporting fentanyl or heroin.
Pratt is being held in Allegheny County Jail awaiting her September 5 court appearance.