#childabuse | Parents charged after Twin Cities baby poisoned with fentanyl

ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. — A St. Louis Park couple who authorities say lied about their 12-month-old being poisoned by fentanyl was charged with one count of child endangerment, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday, Oct. 14.

Deja Harper, 28, and her partner, Waymon Murphy, 25, were also charged with one count of child neglect. Each made their first court appearance Monday.

The complaint gave the following details: On Oct. 3, police were called to the couple’s St. Louis Park apartment on a report that their 12-month-old child was unresponsive.

According to the complaint, Harper told the police the child likely swallowed an aspirin while she, Murphy and the baby were lying on the bed. Murphy had taken Tylenol for a headache earlier and forgotten to put the bottle away, she said. The couple saw a pill in the baby’s mouth and removed it, the complaint states.

When paramedics arrived, the baby was unresponsive and struggling to breathe. Doctors at the hospital intubated him.

When doctors asked the couple what happened, they maintained that the baby had consumed aspirin.

“Difficulty breathing was inconsistent with ingestion of Tylenol,” the complaint said. Toxicological testing revealed the baby had fentanyl poisoning, the complaint states.

While serving a search warrant, authorities found fentanyl pills in a pair of men’s shoes in a closet. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid prescribed for severe pain. Illicitly manufactured, it is commonly abused for its heroin-like effect.

After the baby was admitted to the hospital, the couple was given urinalysis testing. Murphy tested positive for fentanyl. Authorities say they were unable to analyze Harper’s sample because it had been tampered with.

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