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Maplewood woman charged for 3-year-old son's fatal overdose

The boy was 3 years, 8 months old when he died.
Queenetta McDaniel

A 34-year-old Maplewood mother has been charged for the December 2020 death of her 3-year-old son. 

Queenetta J. McDaniel was charged April 7 in Dakota County District Court with second-degree manslaughter related to child endangerment. According to the charges, McDaniel awoke in a West St. Paul apartment on the morning of Dec. 7, 2020, at approximately 7:43 a.m. and used the bathroom. 

Upon returning to the couch that she and her 3-year-old son had been sleeping on, she discovered that her child wasn't breathing and "appeared to have vomited." McDaniel said her son was OK when they went to sleep around 11 p.m. the night before. 

The criminal complaint says the boy was taken by ambulance to Children's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time after arriving. A medical examiner found that the cause of death as acute fentanyl toxicity. 

Toxicology results showed a "high concentration of fentanyl in the victim’s blood at the time of his death as well as the presence of a metabolite of fentanyl." There were no other contributing causes. 

The criminal complaint doesn't say how the child ended up with fentanyl in their system.

According to the charges, investigators determined that McDaniel and her son had been staying at her friend's apartment for two days, with a witness alleging that McDaniel was "a heavy and habitual user of illicit drugs." They alleged McDaniel was using drugs, including smoking fentanyl, while she and her son were at the apartment. 

Numerous pieces of drug paraphernalia were found by investigators in the apartment, and McDaniel's blood sample "indicated the presence of fentanyl and a metabolite of fentanyl," the charges said. 

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