The parents of an 8-month-old Rhode Island baby are behind bars after the infant passed away from a drug overdose. Authorities noted the parents left the opioids in plain sight and easily accessible to the baby.
The Washington Post reports that Coventry police received a 911 call at around 6 a.m. on Nov. 19. to a Coventry home at 40 Tillinghast Rd., about an unconscious infant. Medics also arrived at the scene and rushed the baby, Mia Dorothy Gilchrist, to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. A toxicology report on the baby indicated she had a large amount of opioid fentanyl in her system, although the medical examiner hasn’t yet provided the official cause of death.
Authorities said they found three prescription bottles on a nightstand where the parents stored Mia’s diapers, along with a marijuana joint, beer cans, and Suboxone, a medication used for opioid addiction. They also found dog feces scattered inside the home.
Six days later, police arrested Steven Gilchrist and Jocelyn Belmore, both 32, and charged them with cruelty to or neglect of a child. The charges could be upgraded once the medical examiner announces Mia’s official cause of death.
Court records indicate that a spokesperson for the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families, Kerri White, said that Gilchrist was already on their radar after a previous incident involving another family member.
The Providence Journal reports that both suspects have criminal records. Gilchrist was previously convicted of domestic violence, larceny, and shoplifting. Belmore has a driving under the influence conviction.
Both Gilchrist and Belmore pleaded not guilty on Wednesday. They’re being held in jail on a $50,000 bond each.
The story is still developing. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Steven Gilchrist and Jocelyn Belmore/Coventry PD]