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Parents of 14-month-old baby who overdosed on fentanyl and meth charged with manslaughter, police say

baby drug overdose
Source: Pasco County Sheriff’s Office

Mar. 23 2022, Published 4:32 p.m. ET

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A 14-month-old baby boy in Florida died from an apparent drug overdose in his crib, and surveillance video allegedly shows how the tragic incident unfolded, authorities said.

On the morning of Jan. 6, police officers in New Port Richey responded to home after receiving a call about an unresponsive baby, WTVT reported.

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The child’s 26-year-old mother, Andrea Smarr, told investigators the toddler, James Valiquette, appeared to be alive and well when she put him to bed at about 10:30 the previous evening, but around 12 hours later she discovered he was dead, police said.

Detectives investigating the child’s death collected multiple pieces of evidence from the home, allegedly including methamphetamine, fentanyl, and scraps of burnt tinfoil as well as surveillance video recorded in the living room and baby’s bedroom, police said.

The video allegedly showed the boy’s father, John Valiquette, 24, fall asleep on the living room floor shortly before 10 p.m. on Jan. 5, police said.

The child was able to “roam around the living room unsupervised,” and at 10:17 p.m., “the victim goes between the sofa and coffee table and picks up what appears to be a scrap of tin foil from the floor,” police wrote in an arrest report obtained by WTVT. “He places it in his mouth and gets on the sofa.”

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The baby’s mother walked into the room approximately five minutes later, allegedly with a pipe “commonly used to smoke methamphetamine,” and spotted her son with something in his mouth, the report states.

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According to the report, Smarr “quickly removes” the object, and then puts the baby to bed, surveillance video allegedly shows.

The following day, the arrest report states, the baby’s nose and mouth was covered with a “thick, milky mucous.”

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An autopsy determined the child’s cause of death was combined drug toxicity as a result of fentanyl and methamphetamine found in his system.

Police alleged in the arrest report that surveillance video shows Valiquette had dropped the tinfoil that was “consistent in appearance” as “the same piece the Victim later placed in his mouth.”

Smarr and Valiquette each face a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child, WTVT reported.

Valiquette was also charged with multiple counts of possession of narcotics.

baby drug overdose
Source: Pasco County Sheriff’s Office
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