Fentanyl fumes kill N. Augusta baby; mom arrested

Published: Dec. 13, 2022 at 8:21 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 13, 2022 at 9:19 AM EST
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NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - A mother was arrested after a 6-month-old died from inhaling the fumes of fentanyl the mom used near the baby, authorities say.

Brittany Hamilton, 36, was arrested Monday, several weeks after North Augusta Department of Public Safety officers were called to the 1900 block of Green Forest Drive in reference to an unresponsive infant.

Upon arrival, officers found a man performing CPR on the child. Officers took over CPR, but could not revive the child.

Upon further investigation, officers spoke with Brittany Hamilton, who told officers she put the child down for a nap on a bed in the residence.

While going to check on the child sometime later, Hamilton noticed the child face-down on the bed in a position she stated was unusual, she said.

Hamilton called Debra Markwalter, her mother, into the room to also check on the child.

Markwalter then picked the child up to adjust the baby’s position on the bed. The child appeared to be limp and turning blue in the face. Markwalter attempted CPR.

Emergency medical crews arrived and care was continued in the ambulance.

Upon arrival at the hospital, staff confirmed the child was deceased.

Investigators say Hamilton ingested meth/fentanyl near the child and the child inhaled the fumes. The fentanyl was the cause of death, according to the coroner.

Hamilton was charged with murder/homicide by child abuse. She was jailed without bond.

Authorities say this adds to the 76 confirmed fentanyl cases in Aiken County.

Officials tell us they were at the residence six times in 2022 for anything ranging from a medical complaint, a suspicious person, a disorder, a civil matter, and a follow-up.

In 2021, they responded to calls at the home seven times for follow-ups, assistance, medical complaints, disorder, and child abuse. Neighbors tell us they are heartbroken for the family.

“It was a shock because that kind of stuff doesn’t happen around here, that I know of. It like killed me and my wife because we just got our first grandchild,” neighbor Ricky Chancey said.