Fugitive captured, held in jail in toddler drug death case

Breanna Edelstein, The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.
·3 min read

Mar. 2—LONDONDERRY — A fugitive wanted in connection to the overdose death of a 21-month-old girl was arraigned and deemed a danger to the public Monday in Rockingham Superior Court.

Dana Dolan, 25, is accused of manslaughter, negligent homicide, reckless conduct and conspiracy to commit falsifying physical evidence, according to court records.

The fatal incident he has been linked to happened Nov. 16, 2020 at RMZ truck stop in Londonderry. Records show that a toddler girl ingested fentanyl in a pickup truck while Dolan and the girls' parents — Mark Geremia, 32, and Shawna Cote, 29 — slept feet away.

Police said the girl's 4-year-old sister was also present. She was physically unharmed by the drugs, but described later by nurses as dirty, frail and malnourished.

Following the arrests of Geremia and Cote last week, investigators announced a $2,500 reward Friday for information leading to Dolan, a Tilton resident.

They said dozens of tips from the public were helpful in tracking him to an apartment known for drug activity on Powder Hill Drive in Lancaster, New Hampshire.

When approached by U.S. marshals, state troopers and Lancaster police, Dolan attempted to escape through a back door but was quickly taken into custody Saturday, investigators said.

A Londonderry police affidavit explains that at 9:42 a.m. Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, a patrol sergeant was near RMZ truck stop when dispatch was called about an unconscious toddler in a car there.

Police said the day-shift sergeant arrived at the scene within a minute and performed CPR until paramedics with the Londonderry Fire Department arrived. The girl was taken to Parkland Medical Center, where she died.

While entering a plea of not guilty for his client, Attorney Justin Shepherd argued in court Monday that Dolan is less culpable than the girl's parents, who were sitting closer to her in the truck.

"There is no evidence whatsoever that ties the fentanyl that killed the baby to my client," he said.

An attempt to have Dolan evaluated for possible release before trial was denied.

According to the affidavit, Dolan told police how he, Geremia and Cote drove to Lawrence to trade an ATV for drugs, which they started using right away. On the way home, Geremia pulled over at the Londonderry truck stop after having a hard time driving.

There, the three adults snorted their second line of heroin, the affidavit states.

Police said that during an interview later at the Londonderry Police Department, Dolan recalled waking up at 6 a.m. and taking more heroin with Cote.

He said the mother was cutting the drug on a book, but fell asleep in the process, pressing her chest against it.

He said he shook Cote awake and told her not to drop the drugs on her 4-year-old asleep in her lap.

Dolan told police he was preparing to inject his hit when the 21-month-old girl began to cry. He recalled moving the car seat and unbuckling the baby before she climbed into the front seat with help from her mom, the affidavit says.

Shortly after his injection, Dolan told police that Geramia prepared three more lines of heroin — one for each adult, which they consumed. He said he fell asleep again and woke up to Geremia panicking.

Dolan told police that Cote also yelled, "You're going to have to go to prison for this."

The affidavit goes on to explain that Dolan asked the couple what they were going to do with the drugs, and that "they had to get their stories in order."

At one point during the interview, Dolan told police that he was carrying Narcan — a drug that quickly reverses the effects of opioids. He said he handed it to Cote, who administered it to her daughter improperly, before he gave the toddler a second dose himself.

All three are now held on preventative detention until their separate trials.