A man accused of trafficking in heroin is now charged with felony child abuse in the death of his 9-month-old daughter, who last year swallowed a folded piece of paper that contained a heroin-fentanyl mixture.
Albert Gaines Jr., 33, was named in a warrant that Garner police obtained Friday. Police said other charges may follow and that their investigation into the child’s death is continuing.
The child, Allie Giana Gaines, died Nov. 15.
Toxicologists found fentanyl, acetyl fntanyl and heroin in the toddler’s body, according to a toxicology report made public Monday by the N.C. State Medical Examiner’s Office.
Fentanyl is 50 to 100 more times more powerful than heroin and 3 grams of the synthetic opioid is lethal enough to kill an adult, authorities reported.
Allie Gaines was born last year on Feb. 16. The child’s mother regularly took her to a pediatrician for well baby checks. She was six months old during her last visit to the doctor, according to the autopsy report.
Police said that on the day that she died, Allie’s mother breast-fed her between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. The baby was last seen alive at 9:30 a.m. and was found unconscious at 2:25 p.m. Officers arrived at the child’s home and observed drug paraphernalia in the apartment, according to the autopsy report.
Pathologists who performed the child’s autopsy recovered a folded piece of paper from her stomach. Toxicologists analyzed the paper and found evidence of the drugs that took her life.
On Feb. 23, Garner police charged Allie’s mother, Lacrystal Renee McClain, 30, with conspiring to traffic in heroin on the day her and Gaines’ baby died and with maintaining a residence as a place to keep or sell drugs.
The arrest warrant issued Friday accused Gaines of not providing supervision to keep Allie from reaching the heroin in the apartment on Westcroft Drive.
Gaines was already in the Wake County Detention Center when he was charged. Garner police had arrested him Dec. 7 at his home in Wilmington on charges of heroin possession with intent to sell, possession of cocaine and gun possession by a felon on the day the baby died. Police also had charged him on Feb. 9 with trafficking in heroin that day.
Garner police said the parents called EMS when the girl was unresponsive when Gaines woke up in the afternoon of Nov. 15. The baby had been sleeping in the bed alongside Gaines, police said.
“It is not known how the baby obtained and swallowed the paper,” Dr. Susan E. Venuti stated in the autopsy report.
The new abuse charge brought Gaines’ total bail to $765,000 for all the charges. McClain has been held on $500,000 bail.