The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 7:10 pm

Mom accused of neglecting kids

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

The mother of a Fort Wayne toddler who died after ingesting fentanyl pills at home faces four felony charges, including three counts of child neglect.

Police found Kiara A. Johnson's two children – including the 2-year-old boy who died – lying in the bathtub under a running shower about 8:30 p.m. Sept. 29, according to a probable cause affidavit written by Brian Martin, a Fort Wayne Police Department officer.

Johnson, 22, was on her bed playing games on her phone with plastic bags containing marijuana and fake Percocet pills lying on the mattress when she told the children – who were climbing on the bed – to play in their room, she reportedly told police.

After a while, Johnson – who realized her pills were missing – heard one of the children coughing, so she checked on them. They appeared to be sleeping, but her daughter was barely breathing, and her lips were blue, charging documents said.

Her boyfriend suggested she put the children in the shower to see if that would help, documents said.

Prompted to the southeast side apartment by a 911 call, police officers immediately removed the children from the tub, administered Narcan – an overdose-reversing drug – and began CPR, documents said.

Later that night, after her son died and her daughter's condition was deemed stable, Johnson reportedly told police she bought the pills on the street knowing they weren't Percocet and that they contained fentanyl.

A Sept. 30 autopsy revealed conditions commonly observed in overdose deaths, documents said, and a test on the pills confirmed the presence of fentanyl.

Authorities searching the home found a loaded rifle in the master bedroom beside the bed; feces smeared on the children's bedroom wall; and moldy, rotten food in the children's room, master bedroom and kitchen, documents said.

Clothing, toys and trash also covered the floor of the children's bedroom, the documents continued, and living room closets were packed about 3 feet high with clothing, toys, plastic bags and other items, presenting a fall hazard and choking or suffocation risk to toddlers.

Johnson faces a felony charge of cocaine or narcotic drug possession as well as three counts of neglect of a dependent, including neglect of a dependent causing death.

A hearing is set for Friday.

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