Police: Missouri woman charged in child drug deaths

Apr 3, 2023, 1:36 PM

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri woman who was caring for a toddler that died with fentanyl and another drug in her system is facing criminal charges, and authorities say the woman may be responsible for the drug-related deaths of three other children.

Mary Curtis, 30, of Jennings, was jailed on $1 million cash-only bond. St. Louis County prosecutors on Thursday charged her with endangering the welfare of a child, in the death of 17-month-old Brailey Stevenson. Police did not disclose Curtis’ relationship with the child.

Curtis was watching Brailey in her home on March 20, when Brailey went to sleep on the floor, according to police. Curtis took the child to another home and called police. The child was pronounced dead at a hospital. A toxicology report found lethal levels of fentanyl and xylazine in her system, police said. The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes xylazine as a non-opioid veterinary tranquilizer not approved for human use that has been linked to an increasing number of overdose deaths.

A phone message left Monday with Curtis’ attorney wasn’t immediately returned.

Curtis was out on bond in connection with the death of a previous child. Police declined to elaborate, but Curtis’ mother, Nadine Richardon, told KTVI-TV that the earlier charge was filed after Curtis’ 17-day-old child died in 2021. Richardon said Curtis was using methadone to treat a heroin addiction at the time.

Curtis also was connected to two other child overdose cases that resulted in deaths, according to police, but they didn’t elaborate. Richardson said Curtis had drug-exposed twins born five months prematurely, who died soon after they were born in 2020.

It wasn’t clear if Curtis was being investigated in those two additional deaths.

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Police: Missouri woman charged in child drug deaths