A mother in Pennsylvania was arrested after her child's sippy cup was found to contain a deadly opioid which allegedly caused the death of her 17-month-old child.
Pittsburgh police responded to a call about an unresponsive infant on April 5, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Charlette Napper-Talley, the child, passed away days later in a nearby hospital. Through three tests, a medical examiner concluded that fentanyl was present in the child's blood. A red liquid found in the child's cup at the home also tested positive for the lethal drug, police say.
The death was officially deemed a homicide by police. Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said he feels confident about the charges.
“How did the fentanyl get in the cup? I mean, we have some idea. I’m comfortable that we can charge somebody and I’ve authorized that,” Zappala told KDKA2, a Pittsburgh-based CBS affiliate.
Jhenea Pratt, the child's 23-year-old mother, was taken into police custody on August 24. She has been officially charged with homicide and endangering the welfare of a child.
Pratt and her boyfriend, Albert Williams, had been in charge of watching Charlette at the time of her death. Williams and Pratt denied using, transporting or storing both heroin and fentanyl, police said.
Unsure of how the cup's contents became poisoned, Pratt claims a fruit drink she had given to the child “tasted funny to her,” the affidavit said. Pratt said she had put Charlette down to sleep and checked on her an hour later to find her not breathing, prompting her to call 911.
Zappala characterized Pratt as "not helpful" in interviews.
“We tried to interview [Pratt]. She didn’t give us any information. It was kind of, I hate to characterize her attitude ... It’s her child," Zappala told KDKA2.
“Jhenea Pratt was the only person present during the afternoon hours that was with Charlette,” the affidavit said, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Pratt faces a preliminary hearing on September 5, according to Trib Live, a Pennsylvania-based news organization.
[Photo: Pittsburgh Police]