St. Paul mother charged in baby’s December fentanyl death

When a grandmother’s 911 call came in about a 1-year-old not breathing, the baby’s mother could be heard screaming in the background, “Where is the (expletive) Narcan?” court documents say. “Did you give her Narcan?”

The dispatcher asked why the baby needed Narcan and the grandmother said the baby had gotten into some of her daughter’s drugs. She was told to put the baby on the ground and administer the lifesaving drug, which can reverse the deadly effects of an opioid overdose.

The baby died four days later while hospitalized.

A final autopsy report completed last week concluded the baby died of acute fentanyl toxicity, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Ramsey County District Court charging the girl’s 20-year-old mother, Tessa Jean Vorlicky, with two counts of manslaughter.

Prosecutors also charged the child’s father, 26-year-old Derrick Marshawn Harrison, by warrant on Monday with one count of child endangerment. As of Tuesday, neither Vorlicky nor Harrison were in custody.

According to the criminal complaints:

St. Paul police were sent to the home in the 300 block of Toronto Street in the city’s West Seventh area around 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1. Medics were on scene when officers arrived.

Vorlicky, Harrison and Vorlicky’s mother were outside the home, but none of them could say what baby Mi’Vida Vorlicky had ingested. Officers told them they could not enter the home. Vorlicky ran, but was detained and arrested on outstanding warrants.

Harrison told police he had just arrived and saw Mi’Vida on the bedroom floor and noticed her breathing was amiss. He ran downstairs with the baby, told Vorlicky’s mother to call 911 and started CPR. Harrison, who initially lied about his identity, was also arrested on warrants.

Vorlicky’s mother told police that her daughter, Mi’Vida and Harrison stay in an upstairs bedroom. She said Harrison arrived home and soon ran downstairs with the baby, saying she wasn’t breathing and was making strange noises and had possibly gotten into drugs. Vorlicky’s mother said she frequently finds drug residue, straws and burnt tin foil around the house.

Mi’Vida was transported to Children’s Hospital in St. Paul. She was given Narcan, but did not regain consciousness. She was later transported to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, where doctors believed she was unlikely to survive.

In the bedroom, police found a baggie of methamphetamine, burnt tin foil on top of a dresser and nasal Narcan. A bag with tin foil and suspected drugs were in a storage tote in the closet.

Vorlicky went through severe withdrawals while in custody at the Ramsey County Jail. In an interview with police, she acknowledged Mi’Vida could have gotten into some drugs. When asked what kind of drugs, she said, “Fentanyl?” the complaint says.

Vorlicky said she smoked fentanyl the morning of Dec. 1 in a hallway with tin foil, which she then threw away, the complaint says.

Vorlicky said her drugs of choice are methamphetamine and fentanyl. She said Harrison prefers Percocet. She said there was no way Mi’Vida could have reached the drugs since she couldn’t pull herself up or walk.

Harrison told police he doesn’t stay at the home, but goes over there three or four days a week to check on Mi’Vida. He said his daughter had begun to crawl. When asked what drugs Vorlicky used, Harrison replied, “There ain’t no telling.” He said drugs in the bedroom could have belonged to anyone, and denied using the same drugs Vorlicky does.

When asked what he thought happened to Mi’Vida, he said, “She got into some (expletive) she wasn’t supposed to have. It’s simple.”

Harrison said he’s seen Vorlicky’s drugs and they talk about it frequently. He said he accepted responsibility for not being there for Mi’Vida and getting her into a better situation.

Police executed a second search warrant at the home on Dec. 4 and recovered additional evidence from Vorlicky’s bedroom, according to the complaint. Officers found four clear plastic baggies on the bedroom floor by the bed and dozens of pieces of crumpled tin foil with drug residue in a dresser drawer. On the dresser was a loose blue pill and a computer tablet that tested positive for the presence of fentanyl.

Mi’Vida was declared brain dead on Dec. 5, and the autopsy revealed that she had a fragment of tin foil in her colon.

According to court documents, Vorlicky previously was arrested in April 2023 after she was found slumped over in a car in St. Paul and officers found fentanyl during a search. She pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI in February and was put on probation for a year.

Harrison has six prior felony convictions, all for burglary or attempted burglary. Last month, he failed to appear at a pretrial hearing on a gun possession charge out of Ramsey County.

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