Md. woman sentenced to 10 years in prison for baby grandson’s heroin death

A Maryland woman has learned she’ll spend the next 10 years in prison after a judge sentenced the Curtis Bay grandmother for her role in her grandson’s heroin-related death.

After 9-month-old Niyear Taylor’s mother, grandmother and aunt took him along to buy heroin in Baltimore in July 2019, they suspected he may have ingested a missing pill, Anne Arundel County prosecutors said.

While his 17-year-old mother and grandmother, Laurie Taylor, 44, returned to Baltimore to buy another heroin pill, his aunt reported the baby was having difficulty breathing, wheezing and crying. They discussed taking the child to the hospital but instead went to sleep, according to prosecutors. The boy was found unresponsive the next day.

A medical examiner found Niyear had ingested drugs and ruled his cause of death to be fentanyl and heroin intoxication with despropionyl fentanyl use.

Taylor pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and one count of child abuse. Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced Sept. 11 that Taylor was sentenced to 25 years in prison with all but 10 years suspended.

During a search of Taylor’s home on Chesapeake Drive in Orchard Park, Maryland, last August, officers found more than 100 empty capsules with trace, powdery substances in every room, and inside Niyear’s diaper bag. The recovered substance tested positive for fentanyl and heroin.

“The death of this innocent baby due to the reckless behavior of his family members is beyond unconscionable,” Leitess said in a statement. “The defendant and her daughter chose to purchase the heroin, use heroin and then fail to get medical help for nine-month-old Niyear after he had ingested their heroin which directly led to his death. Their actions show how addiction does not only affect the users but can fatally impact the most vulnerable in our household.”

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Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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