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Four-year-old child dies from fentanyl exposure, parents charged

 August 21, 2023

Following the death of their four-year-old son as a result of fentanyl exposure, parents Jason Moore, 36, and Amanda Moore, 35, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment, and reckless endangerment in Thorndale, Pennsylvania, as Fox News reported.

The Incident Details

On the morning of Nov. 29, 2022, the Caln Township Police Department received a 911 call about an unresponsive four-year-old child.

Upon arrival, officers witnessed Jason Moore performing CPR on his son until emergency medical personnel arrived and took over.  The child was rushed to the Children's Hospital in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, where he was pronounced dead.

The Investigation Unfolds

The police investigation revealed that both parents had left for work that day around 7 a.m., leaving their 13-year-old child to care for the younger siblings, ages four and three.

The night before, the four-year-old had complained of a headache and felt clammy to the touch. After being given Tylenol and a bath, he fell asleep on the couch but woke up once at 4 a.m.

While the parents were away at work, the 13-year-old discovered he couldn't wake his younger brother. Jason returned home and dialed 911.

No immediate cause of death was identified by the Montgomery County Coroner's Office.

Subsequently, investigators collected various items from the home, including water bottles with unidentified liquids, a blanket, and a half-eaten lollipop from the defendants' bedroom trash can.

Fentanyl Connection and the Parents' Arrest

On Jan. 23, 2023, tests conducted on the lollipop stick confirmed the presence of fentanyl, matching the coroner's discovery of fentanyl in the child's body.

The compound was found in both his cardiac blood and brain tissue, with a forensic pathologist stating it would have taken about three hours to metabolize.

Jason Moore was further implicated in the investigation when evidence was discovered that he allegedly used fentanyl in the home, and drug paraphernalia testing positive for fentanyl was found in his vehicle.

Investigators also accuse Jason of delaying the 911 call to clean up the drug-related items from the bedroom.

District Attorney Deb Ryan said, "This is a devastating tragedy due to the defendants' complete failure as parents. By bringing deadly drugs into their home they exposed their 4-year-old to this poison resulting in this innocent child's death. They failed to meet even their most basic duties of responsibility and care," as Philadelphia's ABC affiliate reported.

Both parents submitted hair samples for drug testing on Jan. 20, 2023. Amanda's samples showed positive results for fentanyl, amphetamine, and methamphetamine.

A follow-up sample in March helped establish a timeline of her drug usage, and lab results confirmed her chronic and repeated use of narcotics.

Bail was set at $250,000 for each defendant, leading to their imprisonment at the Chester County Prison.

They were also prohibited from having contact with any children, including their own. The couple's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 23 in Downingtown.