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Bismarck woman sentenced in overdose of 8-month-old baby

Sierra Toroitich, a Bismarck woman who was criminally charged after her infant overdosed on heroin and fentanyl but survived, was sentenced Tuesday, Nov. 10 in Stark County District Court.

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Sierra Rose Toroitich

A Bismarck woman was sentenced Tuesday at the Stark County District Court to 10 years, with all but 8 years suspended, on three separate counts of felony child endangerment related to an incident in which her 8-month-old overdosed following contact with an open bag filled with drugs, including heroin and fentanyl.

Sierra Rose Toroitich, 25, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit child endangerment and her sentencing also included three years of supervised probation; 5 years of incarceration — straight time, with no probation to follow. On the two drug related misdemeanor charges, Toroitich was sentenced to 360 days to run concurrent with her other sentences.

Toroitich initially pled not guilty, before changing her pleas on Aug. 4, during a hearing concerning the pre-sentencing investigation.

Toroitich along with her brother and her three children checked into a Dickinson hotel on Nov. 2, 2019, and shortly after checking into the hotel smoked marijuana and took a nap, leaving the children without adult supervision and among “a mixture of controlled substances,” according to court documents.

One of the children came into direct contact and ingested a controlled substance, resulting in the child becoming unresponsive. Toroitich awoke and failed to seek medical treatment of the child, who was not breathing, according to the State’s Attorney Office.

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“The criminals' charges were egregious. When you see young children who can’t protect themselves and are dependent on their mother to provide protection. To put them in a situation like that, I think it warrants harsh penalties and I think this sentence reflected that,” Stark County State’s Assistant Attorney Amanda Engelstad said. “We have a young child who overdoses on a really harmful substance and has to be narcanned. She didn’t call 911, the father of the child happened to show up at really a good time and was the one who called 911… There were a lot of things in this case that made it disturbing.”

Following the sentencing, which sided with the recommendations of the State’s Attorney, the judge remanded Toroitich to the control of the North Dakota State Penitentiary where she is expected to serve a sentence through 2028, with a possibility of parole thereafter.

Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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