Spokane dad charged with homicide for young daughter’s fentanyl overdose

SPOKANE, Wash – A Spokane child died with lethal levels of fentanyl in her system; now, prosecutors have charged her father with controlled substances homicide.

Frank Marusic was booked into the Spokane County Jail on December 16. A judge set his bond at $1 million.

According to the affidavit of facts, Spokane Police knew Marusic was a drug dealer. Police say they used a confidential informant to buy Blue Mexi pills, counterfeit Oxycodone containing fentanyl, on four separate occasions starting in September.

Court documents detail those drug buys, but don’t say why police didn’t arrest Marusic at the time.

Fast-forward to this month, when a doctor at Sacred Heart Medical Center treated a 17-month old child who was suffering from a life-threatening brain injury due to lack of oxygen.

According to the doctor, the child had been treated with Narcan before she was brought to the hospital. Narcan counteracts the effects of opiate ingestion or overdose.

The child ultimately died on December 7. Court documents say the brain injury that killed her was “consistent with the effects of fentanyl ingestion/overdose.” A urine screen also showed evidence of fentanyl in the child’s system.

Police question the child’s parents, witnesses

Police spoke to the child’s mother at the hospital, who said she put the child down for a nap and when she checked on her two hours later, she wasn’t breathing. A roommate tried to perform CPR and also administered Narcan to the child.

Police say the child’s mother gave conflicting statements about the timeline of the incident and couldn’t give “any plausible explanation” for what happened.

Investigators then spoke to Marusic, who said he also couldn’t provide an explanation as to what happened to his daughter.

Police interviewed a witness at the home who said the parents “like to dabble in Mexis” and said they weren’t sure if the child had “gotten a hold of something.” The witness said she had also gotten “mexis” from Marusic and the drugs were kept “in a candy container.”

The court documents also include a transcript of an interview that a child counselor did with another child who lived in the home.

When asked who lived in the house, the child said “Not my sister, cause her [sic] in heaven.”

The child then told the counselor that the sister got a hold of “my mom’s medicine. It was my dad’s medicine, too.”

While initially referring to the Narcan, the child later said that the sister got a hold of “a pill” and said “my dad gave it her.”

When asked what color the pill was, the child pointed to blue play dough in the interview room.

Court documents say police obtained a search warrant for the family’s home on East Gordon. Detectives found “the presence of drug paraphernalia throughout the residence, to include glass pipes, lighters, torches and pieces of burnt foil.” They also found prescription drug bottes for trazodone, gabapentin and suboxone.