Mother and Grandmother Charged in the Death of Infant From Opioid Overdose

A mother and grandmother were arrested and now face charges in relation to the death of an infant from an opioid overdose.

Joyce Stover, 33, and Sharon Elaine Jordan, 55, of South Carolina were taken into police custody on Tuesday following an investigation into the death of Stover's 11-month-old daughter on October 30. Police were initially called to Stover's home on that day on reports of an unresponsive infant.

Investigators on the scene found bottles of naloxone in the child's crib, according to an incident report obtained by Greenville-based news station WYFF. The child, whose name has not been released to the public, was later declared dead by the Chester County Coroner later that day, with a toxicology report declaring her cause of death to be a fentanyl overdose.

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist used to rapidly reverse the effects of an overdose. It is unclear if the bottles were present in the crib due to efforts to resuscitate the infant.

infant opioid overdose
A South Carolina infant is dead after overdosing on opioids after being left alone with her mother. Above, a box of the opioid antidote Naloxone, also known as Narcan, sits on display during a family addiction support group on March 23, 2016, in Groton, Connecticut. John Moore/Getty Images

The investigation by police found that Jordan was the infant's legal guardian and that Stover had been visiting her daughter on the day the baby died.

"Stover, per [South Carolina Department of Social Services] regulation, was allowed to visit her child but was not allowed to be alone with the infant," the sheriff's office said. "Jordan, the grandmother and legal guardian of the infant, temporarily left the home, leaving Stover and her infant unsupervised."

When Jordan returned approximately 30 minutes later, she found Stover in a sleep-like state standing near the kitchen sink, with the child sitting on the floor nearby.

"What are you doing?" Jordan reportedly said upon her return. "The baby needs to sleep."

The grandmother then took the infant to her crib to lie down. She said that her granddaughter appeared to be acting normal at that time. Checking in roughly 20 minutes later, the child seemed fine. However, 30 minutes later she heard Stover screaming and found the child unresponsive.

Jordan is charged with unlawful neglect of a child and Stover is charged with murder by child abuse. Both are being held at the Chester County Detention Center while awaiting a bond hearing.

"These are people they have families," sheriff's office spokesperson Grant Suskin said in a statement. "They have kids around that age or that were once that age. So it is very tough for them...That makes it all the more devastating to have someone at such a young age be exposed to such a dangerous drug."

Newsweek reached out to the Chester County Sheriff's Office for comment on this story.