Clinton Twp. parents charged in toddler's drug death

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Warren — A Clinton Township couple were jailed Monday for second-degree murder, manslaughter, child abuse and related drug and weapons charges following the Christmas Day death of an 18-month-old baby who ingested a quantity of a powerful painkiller her parents were allegedly packaging for sale.

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith

Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith authorized charges against Antonio Floyd, 28, and Shantanice Barksdale, 27, in the death of baby Ava Floyd.

According to a release from Smith’s office, the couple were at their Clinton Township home on Christmas morning with their three children, who they took that afternoon to a grandmother’s home in Warren.

When they discovered Ava was not breathing a short time later, she was taken to St. John Macomb Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 3:31 p.m. Hospital staff said they did not observe any signs of trauma or abuse on the baby.

The Macomb County Medical Examiner’s Office later notified Warren police the baby had an “extraordinary level” of the narcotic fentanyl in her system at the time of death.

On Jan. 10, police executed search warrants at the grandmother’s Warren home as well as the parents’ Clinton Township home. Police uncovered evidence of narcotics production and distribution at the Clinton Township address.

Fentanyl, a painkiller estimated to be 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, has been linked to thousands of fatal drug overdoses in recent years.

Smith said additional investigation led the authorities to believe that Floyd and Barksdale were involved in drug trafficking and used the Clinton Township home to process and package fentanyl for distribution.

“The nation is experiencing an opioid epidemic,” said Smith. “However, to see an infant experience such a tragic death on Christmas morning as a result of ingesting a large quantity of her parents’ fentanyl is truly gut-wrenching.”

“This type of criminal behavior will be met with the full weight of this prosecutor's office.”

The couple were arraigned Monday before Warren 37th District Court Judge John Chmura on charges of second-degree murder; deliver/manufacturing of controlled substance less than 50 grams; manslaughter; second-degree child abuse and felony firearm.

Floyd, a convicted felon, is charged with additional counts of being a felon in possession of a weapon and felony firearm.

Chmura ordered both held in the Macomb County Jail without bond pending a probable cause hearing before District Judge Suzanne Faunce at 8:45 a.m. Jan. 22. The charges are felonies, which can carry any term of years of up to life in prison.

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