Crime

1-Year-Old Dies From Heroin Overdose

| by Zara Zhi
Penny CormaniPenny Cormani

A Utah couple was apprehended after their one-year-old child died of a heroin overdose on Dec. 2, 2015.

According to the Provo police, Casey Cormani and Cassandra Richards were booked in the Utah County jail on first-degree felony child endangerment charges on June 7. The two were also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

Provo police Officer, Nisha King, said the autopsy report confirms the child, Penny Cormani, died from a heroin overdose. According to KSTU, the report says, “Tests returned from the Autopsy that indicated that Penny had a lethal amount of Heroin and that Codeine was also present.”

A day before the child’s death, David and Sina Belgard let Richards and Cormani stay in their Provo house.

“[Detectives] have conducted interviews with witnesses, interrogations of suspects, and gathered physical evidence, and toxicology reports sufficient to establish probable cause that the parents were responsible for the death of the child,” read a Facebook post about the death published by KSTU.

According to NewsOK, the child ingested enough heroin to kill an adult, though police do not know how the child consumed the narcotic.

Authorities say Richards called 911 after she put the child to bed and later found her unconscious with bluish lips. Emergency response took the baby to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Authorities said they discovered burnt foil with residue and straws with burnt ends and residue -- trappings usually associated with heroin use -- at the Belgards' home.  

David Belgard told officers he had witnessed Richards and Cormani using the straw to inhale their prescriptions.

The couple denied the drug paraphernalia belonged to them even though they have a history of drug abuse, according to the police report.

A criminal background check also revealed David Belgard has been arrested and/or convicted of driving under the influence, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of heroin, amphetamine and marijuana, giving false information to police and resisting arrest.

Cormani and Richards have not been formally charged with Penny’s death but are being held in the Utah County Jail on $25,000 bond each.

King said authorities have not arrested or charged anyone else in the girl's death and did not know if the pair had other children.

Sources: NewsOK, KSTU / Photo credit: Wing Mortuary via KSTU

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