A Michigan couple is facing murder charges in the Christmas Day death of their 18-month-old daughter who had enough fentanyl in her to kill several adults, authorities said Monday.
Antonio Floyd, 28, and Shantanice Barksdale, 27, were arraigned Monday in 37th District Court in Warren on charges of second-degree murder in the death of their daughter, Ava Floyd, according to a news release from the county prosecutor’s office.
Prosecutor Eric Smith said they were ordered held in the county jail without bond.
The couple was manufacturing drugs out of their Clinton Township home, Smith said, and the toddler is believed to have ingested the drug by drinking it.
The Macomb County Medical Examiner’s Office told police the child had an “extraordinary level of the narcotic Fentanyl in her system at the time of death,” the news release said.
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Smith told the Free Press an autopsy showed the child had five to 15 times the amount of fentanyl authorities have seen in the last 30 overdose deaths in Macomb County. He said it was the highest level of fentanyl the medical examiner’s office had ever seen in someone’s system.
“The nation is experiencing an opioid epidemic,” Smith said in the news release. “However, to see an infant experience such a tragic death on Christmas morning as a result of ingesting a large quantity of her parents’ Fentanyl is truly gut-wrenching.”
He added that this type of alleged criminal behavior “will be met with the full weight” of the prosecutor’s office.
The parents were at their home with their three children on Christmas morning. They took their children to a grandmother’s home in Warren that afternoon. A short time later, the toddler stopped breathing, according to the release.
She was taken to St. John Macomb Hospital in Warren, where she was pronounced dead. There were no signs of trauma or abuse seen by hospital staff, the release stated.
Smith told the Free Press that a sibling of the toddler saw the girl ingest the fentanyl and informed her parents.
Law enforcement executed search warrants Thursday at the the homes of the couple and the grandmother. Police found scales, grinders, baggies, guns and drug residue, Smith said. Authorities believe the couple were involved in drug trafficking and were using their Clinton Township home to process and package fentanyl for distribution.
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In addition to the murder charge, the parents have been with charged with deliver/manufacturing of controlled substance, manslaughter, second-degree child abuse and felony firearm offenses.
Prosecutors say Floyd is a convicted felon and he also is being charged with additional counts of a felon in possession of a weapon and felony firearm offenses.
News of the charges came just hours after top law enforcement officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the county sheriff’s office and four other law enforcement agencies — including Warren Police and Clinton Township Police — announced the formation of a new federal task force to target drug trafficking in Macomb County.
Smith said the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is seeing to the other children.
He called the case “horrible” and said the couple, who he described as “selfish” and “greedy,” suffered a twist of fate in that their own child died from a drug that they are accused of manufacturing.
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Follow Christina Hall on Twitter: @challreporter.