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Mother charged with murder after 2-year-old son dies of fentanyl overdose

Map shows location of Brentwood, Calif., where a 2-year-old boy was found dead of a fentanyl overdose in September
A 2-year-old boy died of a fentanyl overdose in Brentwood, Calif., and his mother has been charged with murder.
(Los Angeles Times)

A Bay Area woman has been charged with murder after prosecutors say her 2-year-old son died of a fentanyl overdose while under her care.

Genesis Barrera-Galdamez, 22, of Brentwood was also charged with felony child abuse and felony possession of fentanyl to sell, according to the Contra Costa County district attorney’s office. She also faces enhanced charges of willful harm causing injury and great bodily injury resulting in brain damage and paralysis.

An autopsy report found that the toddler, Jasani Kerry Jr., died of acute fentanyl toxicity, the D.A.'s office said. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that’s up to 100 times stronger than morphine and has been responsible for a growing number of U.S. overdose deaths each year.

“While the defendant did not intend that her son Jasani die, the evidence shows that she was aware her fentanyl possession and use was dangerous to human life,” said Derek Butts, homicide unit supervisor for the Contra Costa district attorney’s office.

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“Well known amongst abusers, fentanyl is an exceptionally toxic and dangerous substance,” Butts said. “The act of exposing people to or supplying others with fentanyl, if death results, can lead to murder charges.”

Prosecutors say that Barrera-Galdamez called police in the early morning hours of Sept. 20 and reported that her son was not breathing and nonresponsive. He appeared blue and his body was very cold, she said.

“It was the call that every officer dreads to hear,” Brentwood police said in a post on Facebook.

Medical response personnel performed CPR for over 30 minutes but were not able to revive the child.

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Officers found multiple items of drug paraphernalia on and around the bed Barrera-Galdamez shared with her son, including 13 grams of powdered fentanyl and baggies and foil pieces containing fentanyl residue, prosecutors said.

The district attorney’s office alleges that Berrera-Galdamez tried to sell fentanyl to “multiple parties” after her son’s death. She was arrested at a Comfort Inn in Antioch on Oct. 29 and charged with selling the drug.

In an online obituary published by the family, Jasani was described as a “special boy whose smile brightened up any room and warmed everyone’s hearts.” He loved throwing balls and playing with cars and balloons, the obituary said.

Berrera-Galdamez’s bail was set at $1.1 million. Her arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 18.


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