5-Month-Old Overdoses on Heroin, Mother Gets 30 Days for Child Abuse

Patrick M. Hall and Erin C. Flynn
Fairfax County Sheriff's Office
Marilyn R. Fischl, left, and Rafael Preston (Fairfax County Sheriff's Office)

FAIRFAX, Va. (CBS/AP) Springfield, Va. mother Marilyn R. Fischl, who prosecutors said supplied two friends with heroin and then left her 5-month-old in their care, was convicted and sentenced to 30 days in jail Wednesday for child abuse and neglect in connection with the infant's heroin overdose.

Erin Flynn, left, and Patrick Hall (Fairfax County Sheriff's Office)

During the trial prosecutors alleged that Fischl, 36, provided Patrick Hall and Erin Flynn, two friends who were living in the house, with heroin on July 14, then left to take her 2-year-old to speech therapy.

Flynn, who earlier pleaded guilty to felony child abuse, testified that she and Hall snorted a couple of lines of heroin with the 5-month-old lying nearby, and then she went outside to smoke a cigarette, according to the Washington Post.

Flynn testified that when she returned she noticed that the baby had the paper that the heroin was wrapped in and was chewing on it. Soon after the baby boy started to suck continually, even though nothing was in his mouth, and his eyes rolled to the back of his head.

The boy was rushed to the hospital where doctors determined that he was suffering from an overdose. He has since recovered and is said to be in the care of relatives, the Post reported.

Fischl testified at trial and denied that she supplied the heroin that day. During the sentencing phase she told jurors that she had sought treatment after she was arrested with her boyfriend, Rafael Preston, in October, and in March she entered an inpatient treatment center, according to the paper.

Fischl told the jury that she had been using heroin for more than 10 years and said "It has absolutely ruined my life."

Defense attorney Kevin Smith told the jury during sentencing that Fischl is working with social services to get back all three of her children, including the infant who overdosed, and deserved another chance, the Post reported.

"If social services is willing to work with her to get her children back, then I think Ms. Fischl is worth saving. They think she's worth saving," Smith said.

Although she was sentenced to 30 days, Fischl could end up serving half that because of overcrowding and staffing issues in the Fairfax County Jail. The maximum she could have faced was 5 years.