Arizona woman charged with second-degree murder in death of 8-month-old son

Mar 8, 2022, 5:00 PM

Erika Wahab (Pinal County Sheriff's Office Photo)...

Erika Wahab (Pinal County Sheriff's Office Photo)

(Pinal County Sheriff's Office Photo)

SADDLEBROOKE, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona woman has been arrested in connection with the 2020 death of her 8-month-old son, who was found to have fentanyl and cocaine in his system, officials said Tuesday.

Erika Wahab, 30, was being held on a $100,000 bond on suspicion of second-degree murder and child abuse after a grand jury issued a warrant for her arrest, Pinal County Sheriff’s Office officials said.

Deputies were called in January 2020 about an infant who was not breathing at a home in the community of Saddlebrook, about 25 miles (8 kilometers) north of Tucson. The child was later pronounced dead at a hospital, sheriff’s officials said.

Toxicology results showed the infant had a “massive level of fentanyl in his blood” and the presence of cocaine metabolites in his system although cocaine exposure wasn’t the cause of death, sheriff’s officials said.

Wahab allegedly admitted to using fentanyl pills and cocaine at home and agreed that the drug use created a dangerous environment for her child, according to investigators.

Lauren Reimer, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said the child’s autopsy with toxicology reports came back in June 2020 and that the initial investigation concluded in December 2020 with the first charging review sent to the county attorney’s office.

“It took quite a bit of follow-up investigation to gather additional evidence to support the warrant,” Reimer said. “Additionally, because of COVID, the process to file charges with the court was significantly delayed.”

It was unclear Tuesday if Wahab had a lawyer yet who can speak on her behalf.

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Arizona woman charged with second-degree murder in death of 8-month-old son