Boynton Beach woman arrested after infant ingests fentanyl and dies, police say

Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 11:50 AM EDT
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A Boynton Beach woman is under arrest after authorities said a 10-month-old infant in her care ingested the highly dangerous and toxic drug fentanyl and died.

Kelly Kirwan, 32, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail late Tuesday on a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child.

According to Kirwan's arrest report, Palm Beach County deputies responded to the intersection of Boynton Beach Boulevard and Military Trail at 8 p.m. on March 31 for a report of a 10-month-old girl suffering a medical episode.

The report said the "unconscious and unresponsive" infant was in a car seat in a 2016 Audi SUV, driven by Kirwan, and was taken to Bethesda East Hospital in Boynton Beach.

Doctors at the hospital said the girl had "suffered cardiac arrest as a result of alcohol toxicity," the arrest report stated.

According to the report, Kirwan told a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office detective that earlier in the day, the child was colicky, excessively fussy, and inconsolable, so Kirwan made her a bottle of formula and laid her down to sleep.

Later in the day, Kirwan said she picked the girl up and noticed she was "excessively drowsy and slumping her head forward."

The arrest report stated that Kirwan put the child in her car seat to drive to Target to buy more formula. While in the car, Kirwan was on a video call with a man who noticed the child was "making strange noises while slumped over."

Kirwan pulled over at Boynton Beach Boulevard and Military Trail and called 911.

According to the arrest report, on April 1, a Palm Beach County detective searched Kirwan's apartment at The Cove, located in the 1000 block of Newlake Drive in Boynton Beach, and found "Benadryl pills on the couch, several prescription pill bottles throughout the apartment, a bar containing bottles of alcohol," along with "an empty capsule of suspected drugs inside the bedroom."

That same day, the child was moved to Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital in Hollywood. Doctors said the infant "did not have any brain activity or nerve response," the arrest report said.

Palm Beach County detectives and crime scene personnel executed a search warrant at Kirwan's apartment and found an empty capsule on the bed in the master bedroom, and a second capsule "appearing to have chew marks on it" floating in a toilet.

A baby pacifier was found on the bed near the empty capsule.

"It is known to law enforcement that empty capsules may contain narcotic and, or illegal substances such as fentanyl," the arrest report stated.

Days later, on April 5, the infant was taken off life support.

According to Kirwan's arrest report, on June 21, forensic and chemical tests by the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office showed the empty capsule had a "tentative positive result" for fentanyl and parafluorofentanyl, both illegal drugs.

The Palm Beach County Medical Examiner's Office classified the infant's death as a homicide, saying the cause was "Intoxication of Fluorofentanyl and Fentanyl due to Ingestion of these Illicit narcotics in an Unsafe Environment."

In court Wednesday, a judge set Kirwan's bond at $300,000 and ordered her to have no contact with witnesses in the case or children under the age of 18. If Kirwan posts bond, she'll be on house arrest with GPS monitoring.

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