The mother of a 21-month-old New Hampshire girl who died after ingesting fentanyl at a truck stop in 2020 pleaded guilty to negligent homicide on Monday and was sentenced to eight to 20 years in prison.
Shawna Cote, 30, did not speak during her sentencing but wiped her eyes with a tissue as family members addressed a judge over the loss of her daughter, Adalynn. They said the child was missed by many, including his older sister, who called him “Babyheart”, a parent said. She was almost 5 years old when Adalynn died.
“The hardest part for me is knowing that she will forever live with the pain of losing her little sister, and there is nothing on this earth I can do to ease her pain,” her aunt said. , Mechelle Rodriguez. Côté’s son, who was born after Adalynn’s death, “will know her,” Rodriguez said.
Côté pleaded guilty in a plea agreement, also admitting to tampering with evidence and endangering the welfare of a child. Adalynn’s father, Mark Geremia, who pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide and other charges, is due to stand trial, and a friend who was with them plans to plead guilty to a careless driving charge.
Police say the three adults, Adalynn and her sister, drove to the Londonderry truck stop in their van to rest after trading an ATV in Massachusetts for what they thought was heroin . The adults used the drug and fell asleep. A police investigation later revealed evidence of the presence of fentanyl in the truck.
When they woke up, Adalynn was unconscious. Cote attempted to give Adalynn an opioid overdose antidote, then got out of the vehicle with her other daughter and walked away, police said.
A witness said Geremia performed CPR on Adalynn, but then stopped at one point to smoke a cigarette.
Côté has a criminal record that includes theft, forgery, and drunk driving. His attorney noted that he is involved in drug treatment recovery efforts. If she successfully completes her programs, she could be eligible for parole after her minimum sentence. A separate sentence of at least 3 1/2 years on the evidentiary charge would remain suspended if it remains on good behavior.
Côté’s parents said in a statement read to the court that they believed she would be able to improve and that they had seen her remorse. Another family member wondered if she would do well in a drug recovery program.
“There’s no way out unless you want out,” Judge David Ruoff said.