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RivCo mom suspected of causing toddler’s fentanyl poisoning


A Norco woman is suspected of allowing her 17-month-old child to ingest fentanyl, causing the tot's death, authorities said today.

The 32-year-old woman was arrested and booked into the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside Tuesday on suspicion of murder.   

According to Riverside County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Brosche, patrol deputies were called to the woman's residence in the 100 block of Eighth Street, near Crestview Drive, about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to investigate reports of a child in medical distress.

Brosche said deputies found the victim, whose name was not immediately released, unconscious and "unresponsive."   

Efforts by county fire paramedics to resuscitate the baby failed, the sergeant said.  

"During the course of the investigation, evidence was obtained showing fentanyl played a role in the juvenile's death,'' he said.   

The toddler's mother was taken into custody without incident. Background information on the suspect was unavailable.

The case was expected to be turned over to the District Attorney's Office for review Wednesday.

To date, prosecutors have charged nearly two dozen people countywide with second-degree murder in connection with fentanyl poisonings since February 2021.

Check Out: Fentanyl-related deaths among children increased more than 30-fold between 2013 and 2021

Fentanyl is manufactured in overseas labs, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the substances are smuggled across the U.S.-Mexico border by cartels. It's 80-100 times more potent than morphine and can be mixed into any number of street narcotics and prescription drugs, without a user knowing what he or she is consuming. Ingestion of only two milligrams can be fatal.

According to federal agencies, fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 45 years old.

I-Team investigator Karen Devine recently investigated local efforts to combat the fentanyl crisis in the Coachella Valley. Hear from Riverside County DA Mike Hestrin and State Assemblymember Greg Wallis, as well as a parent who lost their child, in her special report, "Fatal Flaw."

On Tuesday, a Coachella man was named among 12 new federal cases targeting dealers in fentanyl overdoses.

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