A Maine mom was arrested Wednesday after she allegedly gave her one-year-old daughter small doses of heroin more than a dozen times to help her sleep, a practice that resulted in the baby’s death. Authorities charged Kimberly Nelligan, 33, with child endangerment and possession of drugs after they say she rubbed heroin residue on the child’s gums at least 15 times over the course of two months before her death on Oct. 10, 2018, according to court documents obtained by the Bangor Daily News.
The medical examiner’s office said the baby died of acute fentanyl intoxication, adding that the infant likely ingested the drug that killed her. A powerful synthetic opioid, fentanyl is typically prescribed to treat severe pain, particularly in cancer patients but is also cut into doses of heroin. That, to a baby, is fetal. Nelligan initially told police that she had never used heroin, but later admitted that she snorted the drug from small baggies once a week for two months leading up to her daughter’s death. Police had even said that she was admitted that she had used the drug on her other children as a sleep aid in the past.
Nelligan’s husband told police that he witnessed her rubbing the heroin residue on their daughter’s gums about 15 times. Though she was released on bail and is not permitted contact with the child’s father nor any children under the age of 18 years old, Nelligan still faces up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 for child endangerment and up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for the drug charge.