North Carolina babysitter, Haley Godshall, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the involuntary manslaughter of a 16-month-old baby who ingested a lethal dose of fentanyl. Superior Court Judge Karen Eady-Williams sentenced Godshall to a minimum of 33 months for manslaughter and 20 months for drug and larceny-related charges.
The 24-year-old woman will serve between four and seven years in prison, reported the Charlotte Observer.
Assistant District Attorney Nancy Lee told the court that on November 7, 2021, Godshall called her friend, Alexia Jenkins, and asked if she could watch her son, Kingston, for the day. Lee stated that it was not unusual for Godshall to spend time with the child.
Godshall and her friend, Daisy Bare, smoked methamphetamines and then picked up the toddler from Jenkins to bring him back to Godshall’s home, Lee stated.
When they arrived back at the house, Godshall fed the child oatmeal, and then he fell asleep on a bed between his two babysitters while the two women watched a movie.
After the child was asleep, Godshall grabbed a bag of fentanyl from her bra and gave it to Bare. The two women used the drug and eventually also fell asleep.
When they woke up, they realized something was wrong with Kingston, so they took him to the hospital. Later that evening, the toddler died. The autopsy found that the child had ingested a lethal dose of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.
“I lost my son, but I also lost someone I trusted, a friend, someone I loved,” Jenkins told the judge. “I wish things could have been more careful. I don’t hate anyone.”
It is still unclear how the baby absorbed the narcotics. During the hearing, Lee confirmed that the amount of fentanyl in the toddler’s system was more than he could have ingested from the particles in the air while the two women used the drug next to him.
“I have no doubt that Miss Godshall loved the baby, wanted to care for the baby. But based on her addiction, the disease of addiction, was not in the best position to care for anybody’s child,” Judge Williams said. “I am grateful that the family has a forgiving heart and has sought counseling through their religious belief.”
Bare was also charged in the case and is scheduled to appear in court on October 24.
The DEA reported that just 2 mg of fentanyl is considered a potentially lethal dose.
In 2020, North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 70% of overdose deaths in the state were linked to fentanyl.
The Center for Disease Control reported over 107,000 overdose deaths in the nation last year. The organization estimated that two-thirds of those deaths were linked to synthetic opioids.