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Mom in court Friday charged in baby’s overdose, blunt force trauma death

By Ed DiOrio

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    ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — It was September 2022 when an infant was taken to Mission Hospital with a fentanyl overdose.

Almost a year later, the mother of the now-deceased child has been arrested and charged with manslaughter.

Samantha Higgins took her 8-month-old to the hospital on Sept. 26, 2022, and Asheville police were called in not too long after.

“The investigation started immediately,” Asheville Police Sgt. Tracy Crowe said. “Unfortunately, a few days later, the child passed away. At which point, the autopsy was scheduled.”

Buncombe County Social Services and the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office assisted with the investigation.

While fentanyl was the original cause for concern, authorities said it wasn’t the only cause of death.

“After the autopsy was completed and we read the final report, the cause of death was listed as complications of blunt force trauma to the head, and fentanyl toxicity was another contributing factor,” Crowe said.

On Thursday, Higgins was charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony negligent child abuse inflicting serious physical injury. She was arrested and is being held in the Buncombe County Detention Facility under a $150,000 bond.

Investigators said cases involving infants and children are more complicated than most and are more difficult to be a part of.

“A lot of the detectives who worked on this case have children,” Crowe said. “It definitely affects them in a different way than when you deal with an adult case for sure.”

Higgins, 30, is scheduled to appear in court for her first hearing on Friday.

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