Parents of New Hampshire toddler who died from ingesting fentanyl took cigarette break while giving her CPR

'They failed to call 911 and failed to make meaningful life-saving efforts, taking breaks for cigarette smoking, and busying themselves with disposing of evidence', said the assistant county attorney


                            Parents of New Hampshire toddler who died from ingesting fentanyl took cigarette break while giving her CPR
Shawna Cote and Mark Geremia were charged with negligent murder after the death of their 21-month-old baby (Londonderry Police)

LONDONDERRY, NEW HAMPSHIRE: A 21-month-old girl had died after ingesting fentanyl and according to the prosecutor's office, the father took a cigarette break in the middle of performing CPR on his child at a Londonderry truck stop. The parents are hence facing charges of negligent homicide, manslaughter and more.

Mark Geremia, 32, of Northfield, and Shawna Cote, 29, of Tilton, were arrested on Tuesday, February 23, in Northfield after the autopsy conducted on the 21-month-old daughter showed that she died of acute fentanyl intoxication.

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According to reports, Judge David Ruoff cited the “depraved nature” of the accusations brought against the parents by Assistant County Attorney Kristin Vartanian. Hence he had ordered the two of them to be held until trial and to also stay away from minors, including their own children.

The tragic incident had occurred on Monday, November 16, and the police were called to the RMZ truck stop located at 137 Rockingham Road at 9.42 am. They received a report of an unresponsive toddler inside a car in the rear parking lot. According to Londonderry police, the CPR was performed by a day-shift patrol sergeant until firefighter-paramedics arrived on the scene.

The toddler was then identified as "AG" in the documents and was transported to Parkland Medical Center in Derry and that is where she was pronounced dead. Reports quote a witness as saying that they had seen Geremia performing CPR on his daughter, then “stopping to take a cigarette break” before continuing.

There were also multiple witnesses claiming Geremia had thrown what was later determined to be a hardcover book jacket with fentanyl residue on it into nearby woods. Cote had put a child’s vest into a trash receptacle at a nearby gas station as well. All these witness statements were then corroborated by security footage captured on cameras at the truck stop.

Vartanian said, “We have two individuals who acted with complete indifference to the value of their daughter’s life at every step of the way in this matter,” and also added, “They failed to call 911, they failed to make meaningful life-saving efforts, taking breaks for cigarette smoking, and busying themselves with disposing of evidence. Their focus was entirely on themselves and preserving themselves.”

The child's parents along with a friend had been sniffing fentanyl off of a book cover inside a 2002 Dodge Ram parked behind the RMZ Truck Stop, according to reports. The three adults also slept in the vehicle overnight after, in the presence of their two daughters. Dana Dolan, who was with the parents also said that the group was driven to Lawrence, Massachusetts, the night before to purchase the drugs and used them immediately with the children present before heading back to New Hampshire.

Geremia had stopped at the truck stop after feeling groggy and the witness who called the cops did so after seeing the commotion of the parents attempting to save the child. The police found Cote and the four-year-old daughter at the convenience store opposite the stop. It was here that they found traces of fentanyl on the child’s vest, on the cover of the discarded book and also on the interior fabric of the Dodge Ram.

Cote and the attorney had tried to ask for bail stating she had a bed waiting at the residence program that would help her turn her life around. However, the judge refused and said, "Based on my review of the record the defendant displayed significant sociopathic tendencies and a high level of criminogenic thinking. I’m not convinced whatever she has done since — as she describes it, ‘the incident,’ which is actually the death of her own daughter — is sufficient to satisfy my concerns. I’m finding that release of this defendant poses grave danger.”