Alexandria parents indicted over 2022 death of baby from fentanyl overdose

Two Alexandria, Virginia, parents have been indicted over the 2022 death of their child from a fentanyl overdose.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano announced Tuesday that a grand jury had indicted 19-year-old Juan Oliva-Ruiz and 23-year-old Shantica Tillery on involuntary manslaughter and child cruelty charges, after their 11-month-old allegedly ingested a fentanyl pill found on the floor of their Alexandria home in June 2022.

Police were called when Tillery noticed her baby had stopped breathing. The child was declared dead at a hospital.

Oliva-Ruiz and Tillery face three felony counts each of involuntary manslaughter, child cruelty, and child abuse and neglect. According to prosecutors, the abuse and neglect charges stem from a second child who was removed from the home later on.

“We know that fentanyl overdoses are on the minds of our community members, and our office is working closely with law enforcement to prevent future tragedies like this one,” Descano said in a news release on the indictment. “The death of an innocent baby in this case is unspeakably tragic.”

Tillery and Oliva-Ruiz are set to appear in court on March 23. If found guilty on all three counts, the couple could each face up to 25 years behind bars.

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Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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