The parents of a 18-month-old male baby have been charged with felony murder after a GBI autopsy showed the child died of a fentanyl overdose.
Ashley Bunny Nanney, 29, and Justin Michael Price, 27, both of Jenkinsburg, were arrested on Friday, July 16, and charged with felony murder, cruelty to children in the 1st degree, and possession of fentanyl. They are being held without bond in the Butts County Jail. The name of the child has not yet been released.
According to a Butts County Sheriff’s Office incident report, around noon on April 6, deputies responded to a call of a child not breathing at an address in Knight’s Mobile Home Park off of England Chapel Road in Jenkinsburg.
Nanney allegedly told deputies she had been laying on a couch and her son crawled over to her and laid on her chest and they both went to sleep. When she woke up, she found him not breathing and panicked and ran outside. A neighbor heard her and ran over and began performing CPR on the infant. EMT’s arrived and took over CPR, transporting the baby to Wellstar Sylvan Grove Hospital with a police escort. The child was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Butts County Sheriff’s Investigator Matt Munger stated the baby’s body was transported to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI) crime lab for an autopsy, and they received the results last week.
“When we got the results back, he actually overdosed on fentanyl,” Munger said. “Through our investigation, we determined that there was some drug use in the house. We believe he got hold of either some drug paraphernalia or the actual drug and ingested it. He did not get poked with a needle.”
Nanney and Price were taken into custody in Jackson last Friday. There were no other children in the home.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine, but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a prescription drug, but is made and used illegally, and in many cases, other drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine are laced with fentanyl and people purchasing the illegal drugs may never know it until it is too late.
Fentanyl can be transdermal, which means it can be absorbed through the skin, which makes it dangerous for anyone to touch it. But Munger said there is no indication that the baby absorbed the drug through his skin and that the autopsy confirmed that he ingested it.
“Fentanyl today is killing a lot of people, and it doesn’t matter if you’re an adult or a child, if you come in contact with it, it is going to be bad,” Munger said. “We had a 330-pound man die of 18 nanograms (one billionth of a gram) of fentanyl, and the baby had more than that in his system, and he was 30 pounds.
“We’ve had our fair share of fentanyl overdoses in Butts County this year,” Munger added. “It is scary and you can never know when you come in contact with it until it’s too late.”