ORCHARD BEACH, Md. (WJZ) — A mother and grandmother are both in custody Thursday in Anne Arundel County, accused in the death of a 9-month-old baby boy.
The investigation began on July 27 at around 9:28 a.m., when Anne Arundel County police and fire departments responded to the 7900 block of Chesapeake Drive in Orchard Beach for a 9-month-old boy in medical distress.
Niyear, the baby, was taken to the Baltimore Washington Medical Center but was pronounced dead at 10:19 a.m.
Family members told police the infant had been “wheezing” while breathing, but was put to bed at 2 a.m.
The mother and the grandmother, who were sleeping with the infant, found the baby unresponsive at around 9:15 a.m. and called 911.
An autopsy found fentanyl and morphine in the infant’s blood, liver and stomach contents. Further testing confirmed he had also ingested heroin and fentanyl.
Because of this, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the infant’s death a homicide.
During a search of the home on August 14, detectives found empty capsules with trace powdery substances in every room in the house.
Over 100 gel caps were recovered from the floor, the infant’s diaper bag and other areas within the house. The capsules from the mother’s bedroom tested positive for heroin and fentanyl.
Detectives learned that the grandmother of the infant, 43-year-old Laurie Ann Taylor, drove her two daughters and grandson to Baltimore to buy heroin on July 26 and then bought four heroin capsules to share them with her two daughters.
Taylor said when they returned home, one heroin gel capsule was missing. The three of them had looked for the gel cap, but it was never found, according to police.
Taylor then drove her 17-year-old daughter Alexus Lorraine Taylor back to Baltimore to buy more heroin. When they got home at around 1 a.m., they noticed the infant breathing oddly. Laurie Taylor told police she questioned whether or not Niyear had ingested the heroin capsule, but after discussing medical care for the baby with her daughter Alexus, they decided to “take a ‘wait and see’ approach.”
Within hours they found Niyear unresponsive.
After months of investigation, Alexus and Laurie Taylor were arrested at their home on Thursday.
Police said the way Niyear died was “very uncommon.”
“(It’s) very uncommon to have an infant exposed in this fashion, dying as a result of exposure to these substances,” Anne Arundel County Police spokesperson Marc Limansky said.
Alexus Taylor is charged with first-degree child abuse resulting in death, second-degree child abuse, manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
Laurie Taylor was charged with the same charges in the homicide of baby Niyear, but also charged with two counts of reckless endangerment regarding her minor child, Alexus.
Police say though arrests have been made, this is still an active investigation.
“It’s sad and unfortunate that that had to happen to somebody so young,” said Orchard Beach resident Brittany Morgan.
The Anne Arundel County Police are urging anyone with information to come forward by calling the Anne Arundel County Homicide Unit at 410-222-4731. If people with information wish to remain anonymous they can also contact the Anne Arundel County Police Tip Line 410-222-4700 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP or Download P3Tips APP and Submit Your TIP or submit by web at www.metrocrimestoppers.org.