A mother charged in the death of her 21-month-old daughter, who ingested fentanyl, is now expected to plead guilty later this spring.
Shawna Marie Cote was scheduled for a jury trial, but that has been canceled and a plea and sentencing hearing has been scheduled for May 2 at 2 p.m. in Rockingham Superior Court, court documents show.
Cote, 30, was indicted on nine charges in connection with her toddler’s overdose death on Nov. 16, 2020, at the RMZ Truck Stop in Londonderry, including negligent homicide, manslaughter, reckless conduct with a deadly weapon, falsifying physical evidence, receiving stolen property, and endangering the welfare of a child.
The child’s father, Mark Geremia, 32, is also charged in the death. In addition to the Franklin couple, a third man, Dana Dolan, 24, of Tilton, is also facing charges.
Dolan allegedly was using fentanyl with Geremia and Cote in a 2002 Dodge Ram near the couple’s two young children the night of Nov. 15 at the truck stop, authorities said.
On Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, at 9:42 a.m., police were called to the RMZ truck stop at 137 Rockingham Road in Londonderry on a report of an unresponsive toddler inside a car in the rear parking lot.
A day-shift patrol sergeant who was nearby performed CPR until firefighter paramedics responded, according to a statement from Londonderry police. The child, identified as “A.G.” in court documents, was taken to Parkland Medical Center in Derry. where she was later pronounced dead, police said.
An autopsy performed by the state Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death to be acute fentanyl intoxication.
An online obituary identified the young victim as Adalynn Geremia of Franklin. The obituary listed the child’s parents as Cote and Geremia, and her date of death as Nov. 16, 2020.
Prosecutors claim witnesses reported seeing Geremia performing CPR on his daughter, then “stopping to take a cigarette break” before continuing. Witnesses also reported seeing Geremia throwing what was later determined to be a hardcover book jacket with fentanyl residue on it into nearby woods and Cote putting a child’s vest into a trash receptacle at a nearby gas station.
Security footage captured on several cameras at the truck stop corroborated the witness reports, officials said.
“We have two individuals who acted with complete indifference to the value of their daughter’s life at every step of the way in this matter,” Assistant County Attorney Kristin Vartanian said as the pair were arraigned in 2021. “They failed to call 911, they failed to make meaningful life-saving efforts, taking breaks for cigarette smoking, and busying themselves with disposing of evidence. Their focus was entirely on themselves and preserving themselves.”
Vartanian said Geremia and Cote, along with a friend identified as Dana Dolan, were inhaling fentanyl off a hardcover book inside a 2002 Dodge Ram parked behind the RMZ Truck Stop and slept in the vehicle overnight, with their two daughters present.
The group allegedly drove to Lawrence, Mass., the night before to purchase the drugs and used them immediately with the children present before heading back to New Hampshire, according to Dolan.
Geremia pulled into the truck stop after becoming groggy driving home, Dolan told police.
The drugs were left in a place where the young girl had access to them, according to the charges. “A.G.” was found unresponsive when the group woke up Nov. 16.
A witness saw a “commotion” and efforts to revive the girl. After about 10 minutes, the witness dialed 911 in the belief the parents hadn’t.
When police arrived, Cote and her older daughter, 4, were across the street at a convenience store, where officials later found a child’s vest with fentanyl residue on it in a bathroom trash can outside.
Traces of fentanyl were found on the child’s vest, on the cover of the discarded book and on the interior fabric of the Dodge Ram.
Prosecutors say Cote gave birth to a baby boy in early 2021. He was born addicted to heroin and placed in the custody of the state Division of Children Youth and Families. The couple’s surviving daughter has also been placed in DCYF custody.