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Emma Staton: Colorado mom charged with fentanyl OD death of daughter, 4, pleads guilty to child abuse

If Emma Staton went on trial on the felony child abuse resulting in death charge, she could face up to 16 to 48 years in prison
Emma Staton's bond was reportedly revoked and she will remain in custody until sentencing (screenshot from 13ABC KRDO/YouTube)
Emma Staton's bond was reportedly revoked and she will remain in custody until sentencing (screenshot from 13ABC KRDO/YouTube)

EL PASO COUNTY, COLORADO: Emma Staton, a 25-year-old mother who was arrested on charges of child abuse for the fentanyl overdose death of her four-year-old daughter Acelynn Staton-Contreras in July 2022, pled guilty in an El Paso County courtroom as part of a deal with prosecutors, said reports.

Staton was arrested on charges of child abuse resulting in death, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. She admitted in court that she kept pills in the vicinity of her child, KOAA News5 reported. Staton also admitted that she was in possession of fentanyl pills and drug paraphernalia. Prosecutors said that the suspect had sufficient admittance of guilt for the plea although there were several factors behind her daughter’s death.


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The woman’s sentencing is set for July 3 and is likely to be a half-day affair with victim impact statements, KOAA News5 noted. The judge mentioned that any statements given during sentencing should be addressed to the judge and not to Staton or anyone else in the courtroom directly. Staton’s bond was reportedly revoked and she will remain in custody until sentencing. If the defendant went on trial on the felony child abuse resulting in death charge, she could face up to 16 to 48 years in prison alongside a potential fine from $5,000 to $1 million, the outlet stated.

What happened to Emma Staton’s daughter?

Shortly after midnight on July 13, 2022, Emma Staton called the El Paso County Communications Center (EPCCC) and said that she believed her four-year-old daughter, Acelynn Staton-Contreras, overdosed from a drug that was not disclosed in police reports, Fox 21 Local News reported. The Fountain Police Department (FPD) and the Fountain Fire Department (FFD) arrived at Love’s gas station around 1:15 am to revive the child but remained unsuccessful in their attempt.

Further investigation revealed that Staton first called EPCCC around 11:13 pm on July 12 but immediately hung up the call. When deputies arrived at her residence to check on the situation, Staton said that her daughter accidentally made the call and there was no emergency in the house. Staton later told police that she and her daughter fell asleep at around 9:00 pm before the former woke up to use the bathroom and smoked a cigarette.

After returning to her bedroom, Staton saw her daughter vomiting and gasping for air with long breaks between breaths. She believed that the condition looked similar to drug overdose and rolled the child from her side to her back. Shortly after, Staton noticed that Acelynn was limp and unresponsive, the publication noted. The mother shared that she administered a nasal spray that was known to counteract the effects of an overdose before calling her boyfriend and asking him to drive them to the hospital.


Staton also asked her boyfriend to get more nasal spray from a nearby Walgreens before applying a second dose to the child 20 minutes later. The child reportedly began gasping for air and started turning blue while the woman and her boyfriend were on their way to the hospital. At that point, Staton called 911 once again and informed officials about their situation before driving to Love’s gas station to meet first responders. Upon arrival, Staton began CPR on her daughter before the fire department took over. Unfortunately, the child could not be resuscitated and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Acelynn supposedly ingested at least one pill from a bag of drugs her mother had left on the window sill in the bathroom, the publication reported. Staton admitted to authorities that she was the one to accidentally call 911 and purposely hung up the call to avoid issues with her brother who lived in the basement.

What does Emma Staton’s arrest affidavit say?

In the wake of Acelynn’s death, officials found various drugs and several smoking pipes after searching Staton’s home and car. An autopsy of the child revealed that her brain had a swelling that was consistent with an overdose. Staton was charged with Child Abuse Resulting in Death (F2), Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance, Drug Felony 4 and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Drug Petty Offense.

As per Staton’s arrest affidavit, she left fentanyl pills on a bathroom windowsill within her daughter’s reach, administered Narcan more than once to counteract an overdose, lied to officers who came to the house after a 911 call, and put the child in a car to drive to a hospital rather than calling for an ambulance, KOAA News5 reported. Staton called 911 a second time from the parking lot of Love’s Truck Stop along I-25 in Fountain after her daughter stopped breathing. The child could not be revived and was declared dead at the scene. The El Paso County Coroner’s Office determined she died due to an overdose.