Couple charged when toddler sickened by fentanyl

Monday,

A St. Louis Park couple was charged with one count of child endangerment for the fentanyl poisoning of their 12-month-old baby, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced Monday.

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.

According to the complaint, police were called to the apartment of Harper and Murphy on Oct. 3, in St. Louis Park with the report of an unresponsive baby. Harper told the police the child likely swallowed an aspirin while she, Murphy and the baby were lying on the bed.

Harper said that Murphy had taken Tylenol for a headache earlier and that he must have forgotten to put the bottle away, which is where the baby got the pill. Both Harper and Murphy said they saw a tablet inside the baby’s mouth, with Murphy removing it, the complaint states.

The baby was unresponsive and struggling to breathe when the paramedics arrived. He was taken to the hospital where doctors had to intubate him due to his difficulty breathing inconsistent with ingestion of Tylenol, the complaint continues.

To better treat the baby, doctors asked Harper and Murphy what the child actually consumed; the couple maintained it was only aspirin. Toxicological testing revealed it was fentanyl, the complaint states.

A search warrant of the couple’s home found fentanyl pills in a pair of men’s shoes in a closet. Harper and Murphy took urinalysis after the baby was admitted to the hospital. Murphy tested positive for fentanyl, while Harper’s sample could not be analyzed since it had been tampered with, the complaint says.

Murphy Complaint (PDF)

Harper Complaint (PDF)