Baby who overdosed on heroin was left with drug users, judge says
The Fairfax County woman whose five-month-old baby overdosed on heroin last summer had left her son with two friends, court testimony on Tuesday revealed, and her lawyer said she did not expect her friends to expose the infant to the powerful narcotic.
The baby survived after Marilyn Fischl, 36, came home and then rushed him to the hospital when she saw his “eyes were rolling around and his lip was quivering,” a Fairfax police detective testified Tuesday.
Fischl, the boy’s father and the two babysitting friends all were charged with felony child abuse and neglect. At a preliminary hearing in Fairfax Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Tuesday, Judge Janine M. Saxe found probable cause to certify Fischl’s case to the grand jury for possible indictment.
Still no information emerged at the hearing about how an infant might have ingested heroin. Fischl and the baby’s father, Rafael Preston, 30, had taken Fischl’s two-year-old daughter to a medical appointment and left the baby with Erin C. Flynn, 30, and Patrick M. Hall, 41, in Fischl’s rented townhouse in the Springfield area on July 14.
Police said they were not notified of the overdose until late July, after toxicology tests confirmed heroin in the baby’s system. Detective Darrin DeCoster testified that he interviewed Fischl about three months later, in October, and that Fischl suspected that Flynn or Hall had somehow provided the baby heroin, but that Fischl had not given heroin to them.
DeCoster then obtained a search warrant for the townhouse, and testified that on Oct. 29 he found a spoon with heroin residue on it in a dresser drawer. Spread around the master bedroom, closet and bathroom were “no less than 100” hypodermic needles, DeCoster said.
DeCoster’s affidavit for the warrant indicated he had interviewed Flynn, and Flynn claimed that Fischl had paid for the babysitting with heroin. DeCoster said Tuesday that Fischl denied this.
Fischl knew that Flynn and Hall were recovering heroin addicts, her lawyer Cary S. Greenberg said. But she believed they did not have any heroin that day, had no plans to shoot any, and that Hall had been a trustworthy babysitter in the past.
When Fischl learned that something was wrong with her baby, she quickly hurried home, Greenberg said. He argued that her actions did not constitute intentional child abuse.
But Saxe ruled that Fischl’s decision to leave the baby with two known drug users was enough to continue the case to circuit court.
The preliminary hearings for the other three defendants are set for later this week and next month.
-- Tom Jackman
Washington Post editors
December 3, 2009; 8:01 AM ET
Categories: Fairfax , From the Courthouse , Tom Jackman , Updates
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