Mom Allegedly Rubbed Heroin On 1-Year-Old Daughter's Gums To Help Her Sleep, Killing Her

The baby's father allegedly told police he saw Kimberly Nelligan, 33, apply heroin residue to their child's gums more than 15 times in the roughly two months prior to her death from fentanyl intoxication.

By M.L. Nestel
Digital Original
Facts About Infant Abandonment and Safe Havens

A Maine mother is behind bars almost one year after allegedly rubbing heroin on her 1-year-old daughter's gums to lull her to sleep, killing her. 

Kimberly Nelligan, 33, was arrested Tuesday morning and pleaded not guilty the following day in Penobscot County District Court to child endangerment and drug possession charges, according to The Bangor Daily News.

During Wednesday's hearing, Nelligan allegedly was seen flashing and mouthing vulgarities, reports News Center Maine, an NBC affiliate based in Portland.

Nelligan’s daughter, Jordynn, died on Oct. 19, 2018, after Bangor police responded to a call about an unresponsive child at the Holiday Trailer Park, according to court documents reviewed by the station.

Medics attempted to perform CPR on the child, but then transported her to Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead, the affidavit states, according to The Bangor Daily News.

Kimberly Nelligan Pd

A post-mortem performed on the child by the local coroner determined that Nelligan’s infant succumbed to acute fentanyl intoxication, the police affidavit details.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin, according to the Center for Disease Control. 

Nelligan initially denied using opioids but then allegedly came clean to snorting heroin from small baggies “once a week for two months before her daughter’s death,” the news station reports, citing the affidavit.

In fact, Jordynn's father, Shane Smith, allegedly told police that he saw Nelligan apply the heroin to her daughter’s gums 15 times in the two months before she died and did so in order to soothe her sleeplessness issues, according to the station’s account of the affidavit. 

And it may have not been the first time Nelligan resorted to heroin as a sleeping aid. 

The mother allegedly told Smith that she had done this to her two older children when they were babies, according to The Bangor Daily News, citing the affidavit. She also allegedly tried to convince him that her intentions were not meant to do any harm Jordynn.

“You know I didn’t hurt our daughter on purpose,” Nelligan allegedly explained to Smith.

Nelligan was granted release, but was ordered by the judge to refrain from any unsupervised contact with minors, to have no contact with her daughter’s father, and to steer stay away from drugs, except marijuana, News Center Maine reported.

"She has to submit to random search and testing and submit to a mental health evaluation and begin services for that," said Penobscot County District Attorney Marianne Lynch.

Nelligan’s next court date is scheduled on Nov. 12, the station reported.

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