13-month-old girl's death a homicide, state medical examiner's office says

December 05, 1998|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

The death two weeks ago of a 13-month-old Baltimore girl was ruled a homicide yesterday by the state medical examiner's office, which said she died of morphine poisoning, according to sources.

Police said they have made no arrests and that detectives continue to interview everyone who had contact with the victim, Tamia Washington, who lived with her parents in the 800 block of Glade Court in Brooklyn.

Investigators released few details yesterday and would not say how they determined that the girl came to have morphine in her system. Sources in the Police Department and the medical examiner's office confirmed the cause of death.

Tamia was being cared for by a baby sitter at the time of her death on Nov. 18, said Agent Angelique Cook-Hayes, a police spokeswoman.

The sitter told investigators that she put the baby to bed about 7 a.m. at her house in the 500 block of Edgewood St. in West Baltimore. "She checked on the baby frequently and always found her sleeping," the girl told detectives, according to Cook-Hayes.

About 3:30 p.m., Cook-Hayes said, the baby sitter discovered that the child had vomited. "She picked up the child and discovered the baby wasn't breathing," the spokeswoman said. The girl called an ambulance, and Tamia was rushed to St. Agnes HealthCare, where she was pronounced dead at 4: 30 p.m.

Police said Tamia's parents told detectives that the baby had been treated for a cold, a fever and possible asthma. Cook-Hayes said doctors at the Cherry Hill Health Clinic had told the parents to give Tamia Tylenol.

Police did not release the names of the parents or the baby sitter, and they could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Pub Date: 12/05/98

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