Andrea Smarr and John Valiquette Florida parents charged with toddler fentanyl & meth overdose death after child ingested items it found at the home.
Andrea Smarr, 26, and John Valiquette, 24, of New Port Richery, were arrested last week and charged with one count each of aggravated negligence manslaughter in the death of 14-month-old James Valiquette.
The toddler boy was found dead the morning of Jan. 6 with a ‘thick, milky mucous’ around his mouth and nose, according to an arrest affidavit cited by tampabay.
Charging documents state that Smarr and Valiquette ‘failed to ensure the safety of the Victim by allowing him access to narcotics within the residence’ which ultimately ‘led to the cause of the Victim’s death.’
According to a probable cause affidavit filed in Pasco County, a detective with the New Port Richey Police Department on Jan. 6, 2022 responded to a home located in the in the 5000 block of Hillside Drive to investigate a call about a deceased child. Upon arriving at the residence, Detective Edward Campbell discovered James in a ‘pack and play’ style crib. The child was clearly deceased but had ‘no obvious signs of injury,’ per the affidavit.
Surveillance camera captured toddler ingesting toxic items left on the floor
‘Rigor mortis had completely set in and lividity was consistent with the positioning of the body,’ Det. Campbell wrote in the affidavit.
In a subsequent consent search of the residence, police seized multiple items that were ‘indicative of narcotic use’ — such as small scraps of burnt tinfoil and smoking pipes. Actual narcotics, including methamphetamine and fentanyl, were also allegedly found in the home.
Det. Campbell interviewed Smarr, who allegedly said that she placed the victim in his crib at approximately 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 5. Smarr said the baby was ‘alive and well’ when she put him down. However, when she went to check on him at approximately 10:50 a.m. the following morning she allegedly found him deceased, according to the affidavit.
Ivestigators during the search of the residence came across a surveillance camera in the living room that allegedly captured the events that led to the victim’s death.
Per the affidavit, the video showed Valiquette on Jan. 5 at approximately 9:55 p.m. fall asleep on the floor — an act which then allowed the victim to ‘roam around the living room unsupervised.’ The victim at approximately 10:17 p.m. ‘goes between the sofa and coffee table and picks up what appears to be a scrap of tin foil from the floor,’ the affidavit states. He then ‘places it in his mouth and gets onto the sofa,’ the statement continues.
Only five minutes later, at approximately 10:22 p.m., the video allegedly showed Smarr walk into the living room carrying a pipe described in the affidavit as the type ‘commonly used to smoke methamphetamine.’
‘She realizes the Victim has something in his mouth and she quickly removes it,’ Det. Campbell wrote, referring to the piece of tinfoil.
Smarr then brought the baby into his room and placed him in the crib, the police said. A camera located in the victim’s room allegedly showed that the child was still moving at the time he was placed in the crib.
A medical examiner conducted an autopsy which determined that the Victim’s cause of death was ‘multi-drug toxicity’ — with levels of methamphetamine and fentanyl both being found in his system.
Arrest records show that on March 15, 2022 Valiquette was arrested and charged with multiple counts of possession of narcotics. The manslaughter charge was added to the litany of other counts two days later lawandcrime reported.
Valiquette remains in jail on $250,000 bail.
Smarr remains in custody without bond.