ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A Curtis Bay woman was sentenced Friday in connection with the death of her infant grandson who swallowed a heroin capsule.
Laurie Taylor, 44, was sentenced to 25 years in prison with all but 10 years suspended for one count of manslaughter and one count of second-degree child abuse in the death of her nine-month-old grandson, Niyear Taylor.
Anne Arundel County Police responded to the 7900 block of Chesapeake Drive in Orchard Park on Saturday, July 27, 2019, for a report of an unresponsive nine-month-old infant.
The infant, identified as Taylor, was transported to Baltimore Washington Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy, and subsequent toxicology examinations on the infant confirmed that fentanyl and morphine were present in his blood, liver and stomach.
The OCME confirmed through toxicology testing that Niyear had ingested heroin and fentanyl and ruled the infant’s manner of death as a homicide with the cause of death being fentanyl and heroin intoxication with despropionyl fentanyl use.
On August 14, 2019, a search warrant was conducted at the infant’s residence in the 7900 block of Chesapeake Drive. Police found over 100 empty capsules with trace powdery substances in every room throughout the house and inside Niyear’s diaper bag. The recovered capsules tested positive for heroin and fentanyl.
During the course of their investigation, detectives determined that on July 26, 2019, Laurie Taylor, her 17-year-old daughter who was the mother of the infant Niyear Taylor and another daughter drove to Baltimore City to purchase heroin.
Laurie Taylor told investigators that she purchased four capsules of heroin for $20 and divided the capsules up between her and her two daughters with each person getting one capsule with the fourth capsule to be divided amongst the three of them.
She said they drove home from Baltimore City where it was later discovered that one of the capsules of heroin was missing. After failing to locate the missing capsule during a search of the home, Laurie Taylor and her 17-year-old daughter, the mother of the infant, drove back to Baltimore City to purchase more heroin to replace the lost capsule. The infant stayed home with his aunt.
When Laurie Taylor and Niyear’s mother returned home, they were told that while they were gone, the infant was having difficulty breathing and would wake up crying, screaming and wheezing.
Laurie Taylor said she questioned whether or not Niyear had ingested the missing heroin capsule because he was wheezing.
Laurie Taylor and the infant’s mother discussed taking Niyear to a hospital for medical care; however, they did not take him. Instead, Laurie Taylor and the child’s mother went to sleep, and the infant was found unresponsive in the morning.
Medical personnel was unable to resuscitate the infant and he was pronounced dead at Baltimore Washington Medical Center.
Anne Arundel County state’s attorney Anne Colt Leitess said addiction impacts many more people beyond just the drug users.
“I think it’s most important that parents realize that it’s not just their lives that it affects, that you’re impacting your children and risking their lives as well,” Leitess said.
Leitess added that Taylor’s 17-year-old daughter is being charged in juvenile court which will also hold her responsible and provide her with support in overcoming her own addiction.