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As daughter was dying from fentanyl ingestion, Aiken mom did nothing, cops say



An Aiken County mother was charged Monday with homicide by child abuse after toxicology tests showed her 1-year-old daughter died in January after ingesting a fatal amount of fentanyl.

Authorities say Alexzandra Howell ignored the medical emergency on Jan. 20 when her youngest daughter, Alexava “Zae” Aguirre, was reacting to the fatal dose. The young mother is accused of “carrying out normal activities and ignoring the medical emergency for hours, depriving the child of medical attention and demonstrating extreme indifference to the life of her child,” according to arrest warrants.

Howell, 23, was living in a friend’s mobile home on L&L Lane with her three daughters, where she created an unsafe environment for the girls, authorities said. She was engaged in the consistent abuse of non-prescribed drugs and narcotics and left those drugs within reach of her children.

Yet, upon realizing the Alexava was in medical distress, she concealed the child and the active emergency from others, according to arrest warrants. “Toxicology reports indicate the child ingested a fatal amount of fentanyl,” the warrant says.

Howell faces 20 years to life in prison if convicted of homicide by child abuse, a category of murder. She is also charged with two counts of unlawful neglect of child for placing the older girls, ages 4 and 5, at risk with her drug abuse. In the case of her 5-year-old, the mother allegedly gave the girl a “migraine cocktail” which caused an overdose reaction as she overdosed on Benzodiazepine.

Howell has been in and out of jail since the child’s death for charges of DUI, driving under suspension, disorderly conduct and trespassing. Her parents reportedly did not want her at their home, and her children were removed from her care by DSS officials.

Howell was charged with homicide by child abuse on Monday while serving a short sentence for breaking into Lakeside Baptist Church in Beech Island on March 6. A person there to clean heard an alarm and called the sheriff’s office. A deputy found Howell on the second floor of the building.

 “Subject was found going through her wallet and appeared to be heavily under the influence,” a report says. “Subject was slurring her words and unsteady on her feet.”

The Jan. 20th death of the child, who was actually a month away from her 2nd birthday, made headlines because authorities found Howell with fentanyl on the same day her child died mysteriously. But it took months for toxicology results to confirm the cause of death.

Background. A sheriff’s report shows that Howell had trouble being honest with investigators after her child was found unconscious around 9:35 p.m. Jan. 20.

Two sheriff’s officers responded to an emergency call and transported the child to the hospital since Aiken County EMS was having an extended delay. The child was pronounced dead soon after arriving at the hospital.

The mother stayed behind at her home and talked to officers. She said she had taken her older daughter Avleena to an Augusta hospital around 5:36 p.m. Friday due to the girl suffering from bad migraines. The 1 year old was also in the car, she said.

“(She) then changed her statement, stating that she actually took Avleena to Aiken Regional Medical Center,” Deputy C. Patrick wrote in the report. “When I further questioned Alexzandra about the hospital trip, Alexzandra then stated that she just sat in the waiting room then changed her statement again, stating that she just drove there and sat in her vehicle in the parking lot.”

Howell told the deputy that she never took Avleena inside ARMC since the child began feeling fine after sitting the car for over an hour. She said the 1 year old fell asleep in the car as she was returning to her home on L & L Lane.

Inside their home, Howell laid Alexavia on the bed, went and talked to homeowner Marsha Groomes about cigarettes and returned to find the child a little cold, but still breathing. So, she placed the child on the floor next to the air vent to warm up while she searched the room for a Black & Mild cigar. Then Groomes came in the room and saw the child.

“What the f**k, Annie?” Groomes yelled after seeing the baby with purple lips and not breathing, a report says.

She said she and Groomes began CPR and called for help.

After her death, cops found fentanyl and DSS took custody of Howell’s two other children.

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  1. I wish the justice system could force her to evacuate her womb, but this is improbable. Fentanyl is engulfing our society like a plague, and its addiction is much more powerful than anything we’ve ever seen before on the streets of America. I hope Miss Howell remains in prison for many years and takes advantage of all psychological treatment that is available. However, it is doubtful that she will ever recover from these memories. We have often heard the term “Rot in Hell”, and that is what Miss Howell is about to experience.

  2. A beautiful baby is dead and two other children will have lives haunted by the trauma of their early years. However their mom was an addict and doing what addicts do, trying to cover up their addiction and find more of the substance they are addicted to. Obviously none of the non addicts in this family’s life were aware of the extend of her problem. However the monitoring agencies in our community should have picked up the clues. School officials and other adults that came in contact with the older children had a moral and in some cases a legal obligation to step in for adults who could not. With the increase of drug addiction and the influx of more dangerous drugs in to our country we all need to be more aware of signs that a family is in crisis. Calling the mom names now doesn’t help anyone.

  3. the people she was staying with are somewhat responsible also. they had her in their home, saw, alot. said nothing. when are people gonna realize someone has to speak up. these young kids deserve better and the “village” failed them .

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