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Jury trial scheduled for 8-month-old child overdose case

Toroitich, Sierra 001.JPG
Sierra Rose Toroitich

A Bismarck woman who was charged after her infant overdosed following contact with an open bag filled with drugs, including heroin and fentanyl, had her opening day in Stark County District Court.

Sierra Rose Toroitich, 25, appeared on three counts of felony child endangerment during preliminary hearings before Judge William Herauf. Toroitich entered a plea of not guilty and the matter was continued with a jury trial scheduled for 9 a.m. on May 6 at the district court in Dickinson before Judge Dan Greenwood.

Toroitich’s charges stem from the non-fatal overdose of her 8-month-old child in a Dickinson hotel in November.

Among the felony charges, Toroitich was also charged with misdemeanors for possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, both Class A.

According to the criminal information presented at court, Toroitich, along with her brother and her three children, checked into a Dickinson hotel on Nov. 2. Shortly after checking into the hotel, Toroitich and her brother smoked marijuana before taking a nap — leaving their children without adult supervision and among "a mixture of controlled substances," the State’s Attorney Office said.

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Subsequently, one of the children came into direct contact and did ingest a controlled substance, resulting in the child becoming unresponsive.

"On that bed was a package of a mixture of heroin and fentanyl. The child got into that and subsequently overdosed," Amanda Engelstad, assistant state’s attorney, said.

According to the State’s Attorney Office, Toroitich awoke and then knowingly failed to seek medical treatment of the child, who was unresponsive and not breathing.

Court records indicated that the child was not breathing when the father arrived and quickly dialed emergency services.

“Were it not for the fortunate timing of the father in the incident, the child may have died,” Engelstad said. "The child had to be administered narcan (a narcotic overdose treatment), and was taken to the hospital. Toroitich was charged in November and bond was set at $100,000 cash because of the nature of the case and Toroitich's extensive criminal record.”

According to records, Toroitich has previous arrests for possession with intent to deliver, simple assault on a peace officer, and driving under suspension, among others. At the time of the incident, she was on probation on a previous charge.

"The defendant does not have an insignificant criminal history. It's actually quite significant for her age," Englstad said. "(It's) based on the circumstances, and the fact that she didn't call medical help."

In her initial appearance, Toroitich was ordered to have no contact with her three children — an order that saw an outburst of tears.

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"I'm a great mom," Toroitich yelled. "I have to have contact with my kids. They're my kids!"

Presiding Judge, Dan Greenwood upheld the state's bond recommendation in the initial appearance hearing saying "one of the children was placed in extreme danger and possible risk of death."

A pretrial conference has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on April 14, where final arrangements for the jury trial will be handled.

Related Topics: CRIME AND COURTS
James B. Miller, Jr. is the Editor of The Dickinson Press in Dickinson, North Dakota. He strives to bring community-driven, professional and hyper-local focused news coverage of southwest North Dakota.
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