The mother of a 15-month-old child has been charged with murder and the father of endangering children after a Riverside County Sheriff’s Office found their child died of a fentanylover dose in Jurupa Valley two months ago, a Riverside spokesman said. County District Attorney.
Adler Metcalf, 22, and Sandy Acuna, 20, were arrested Wednesday by detectives with the county sheriff’s Overdose Death Investigations and Narcotics Unit following an investigation into their child’s death on Sept. 1, the sheriff’s officials said in a statement. Both were initially charged with suspected murder after the forensic pathologist determined the child’s death was a homicide.
John Hall, a spokesman for a district attorney in Riverside County, said the mother had been charged with murder and the father of endangering children and that they are scheduled to appear in court Monday.
In announcing the arrests, sheriff’s officials said evidence gathered during the investigation allegedly shows the couple was responsible for fentanyl ingestion by the child.
Deputies had gone to the home in the 5400 block of 34th Street after a report of a child failing to breathe around 6 p.m. 4:20. Attempts to revive the child were in vain, and paramedics declared the child dead on the spot, according to a sheriff’s department statement.
Riverside County Dist. Atty. Mike Hestrin has already accused seven drug dealers of supplying drugs mixed with fentanyl in the last few years. Hestrin said this week that a county that had two fentanyl-related deaths in 2016 is on track to have between 500 and 600 fentanyl-related deaths this year.
California Department of Public Health preliminary data show that California had 3,857 deaths related to a fentanyl overdose in 2020 compared to 239 in 2016. Even 2 milligrams of the synthetic opioid, which is 100 times stronger than morphine, can cause death.
Mexican cartels have shipped thousands of pounds of it to the United States, and it has become a product in fake oxycodone pills sold through social media.
Synthetic opioids like fentanyl are the leading cause of overdose deaths in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some Southern California district attorneys are joining a growing national push to bring charges of murder against drug dealers who manufacture or sell fentanyl that lead to deaths.
The effort is part of a move by authorities to target drug traffickers selling opioids loaded with a lethal charge of fentanyl. They have been subjected to setbacks by some in the legal community, who say it is an excessive prosecution and goes beyond what the law allows.
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