By Joe Johnson
An Elbert County woman has been charged with felony murder after an Athens child she was babysitting died from exposure to dangerous narcotics, Athens-Clarke County police said.
According to police the 15-month-old girl became ill Saturday, while 59-year-old Elberton resident Pamela Renee Graves babysitting her at the child’s home on Oak Hill Drive.
Police said they did not get involved until after the toddler was transported by National EMS to a local hospital, and later transferred to Children's Hospital of Georgia in Augusta.
The hospital on Saturday called ACCPD to notify police that the child was receiving treatment for having tested positive for exposure to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid up to 10 times stronger than morphine; opiates, and benzodiazepine, a tranquilizer. The child died later that day, police said.
“Investigation indicates that Graves possessed illegal narcotics in the presence of the child which resulted in the exposure,” said Lt. Shaun Barnett, ACCPD’s public information officer. “It is not believed that the child was intentionally given the drugs; however, details as to how exactly the child was exposed to the illegal narcotics are still under investigation.
Graves was arrested Monday night and charged with felony Murder and possession of a Schedule II controlled substance.
Barnett would not say if the suspect was a relative of the child or a friend of her parents.
As of Wednesday morning, she remained detained, without bail being set, at the Athens-Clarke County Jail.