BANGOR – A second local mom has been charged with endangering the welfare of a child with drugs, but this time the toddler died.
Kimberly Nelligan, 33, is facing charges after police say she took her heroin baggies and rubbed them on the inside of her 1-year-old daughter’s cheek. Her daughter died in a drug overdose last year.
“Jordynn Nelligan … died last year on Oct. 19th, 2018,” said District Attorney Marianne Lynch.
Bangor police tried to resuscitate the toddler when they arrived at the Holiday Trailer Park residence, to no avail. She died at the hospital.
The medical examiner determined the baby girl overdosed on the powerful synthetic pain killer Fentanyl — an opiate behind a majority of the state’s drug overdose deaths.
Drug dealers are known to mix the man-made drug, which can be up to 100 times stronger than morphine, with heroin.
Nelligan was charged Tuesday with two misdemeanors — endangering the welfare of a child and possession of drugs, for drugs she was found with when arrested. Nelligan was released from jail on Wednesday after making her first court appearance.
Justice Ann Murray barred Nelligan from contacting children, unless under supervision, and from using alcohol or illegal drugs.
When asked what she wants to tell people who might be upset that a child died and the mother faces less than a year in jail, if convicted of the most serious charge against her, Lynch responded, “The role of law enforcement and the district attorney’s office are first and foremost public safety.
“The issue with the opioid epidemic in our state is that there are, in addition to people dying of overdoses, there are individuals who have … there are unintended consequences,” the district attorney added.
A woman who says she once babysat for Nelligan was in the courtroom.
“It broke me when she passed away,” said Diana Opert, who used to live near Nelligan at the Ranger Inn. “And it breaks me even more that I didn’t speak up about little things.”
This is the second time in recent months where a Bangor mother has been charged with child endangerment with drugs.
“This district attorney’s office recently filed another case similar to this where a child ingested methamphetamines that was delivered to the child through breastfeeding,” Lynch said. “They’re very serious, very difficult cases. In some instances, the law hasn’t really isn’t designed to address issues like this.”
Alyssa Murch, 21, of Bangor pleaded guilty in June to five charges — aggravated drug furnishing, domestic violence assault against a child, and endangering the welfare of a child for the Dec. 16 overdose of her 7-month-old son. As well as operating a meth lab and for violating conditions of her release.
In a plea agreement with the district attorney’s office, Murch — who was five months pregnant at the time — was sentenced to three years with all but 76 days suspended, or time served. Then, she was accepted into drug court.
Murch’s baby, who lost four pounds while she was feeding it drug-tainted breastmilk, is now living with relatives and is doing fine, the DA’s office said.
In the court affidavit for Nelligan, her boyfriend told detectives that he had seen her rub the “dope” baggies on their daughter Jordynn’s gums about 15 times in the two months before her death, in an attempt to help her sleep.
According to the girl’s obituary, she turned one year old about a month before she died. She is survived by her parents and three siblings and was predeceased by a sister.
Opioids were involved in 80 percent of the overdose deaths in Maine last year, and more than three-quarters of those involved Fentanyl — a drug that started to surface in Maine overdose deaths during 2014.
Nelligan’s next court date is Nov. 12.
“Bangor police department really did an extraordinary investigation over this case,” Lynch said.