San Jose parents charged in toddler’s fentanyl-related death appear in court

The focus of the case revolves around an 18-month-old girl whose death, according to prosecutors, resulted from exposure to fentanyl. Kelly Richardson and Derek Rayo, currently held without bail, refrained from entering a plea during their court appearance.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office is handling six other cases involving fatal fentanyl incidents. The Richardson and Rayo case stands out as the first in the county where parents are charged with murder in connection to a fentanyl-related fatality.

Prosecutors argue that the couple exhibited a blatant disregard for human life. They contend that when emergency responders arrived at a San Jose residence in August, the toddler had already been deceased for several hours. Fentanyl residue was discovered on the nightstand, a desk, and the rug where the child was found.

Court records reveal additional concerning details, including photos and videos of the couple smoking narcotics while holding their daughter. Text messages discussing drugs in places accessible to the child are also documented.

While Richardson’s attorney chose not to comment on Monday, prosecutors express their intention to try the couple jointly.

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