One night in June, according to court documents, the father of 22-month-old Charles Rosa-Velloso prepared a bottle of the formula and gave it to him at their apartment in a homeless shelter on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
The next morning, Charles was found face down in bed, covered with vomit. He was soon pronounced dead. The medical examiner analyzed the contents of the bottle, which gave the reason: According to the criminal lawsuit filed on Wednesday, the formula was contaminated with fentanyl. There was enough drug in the boy’s body to kill an adult.
His father, 51-year-old Anthony Rosa, was prosecuted Wednesday on charges of second-degree manslaughter, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
At the time his son swallowed fentanyl, Mr. Rosa was courting him alone in an apartment in the city’s family center shelter in Baruch Place, because the boy’s mother was in the hospital after giving birth to another child, police said.
Mr Rose told the detective that he made two bottles for Charles and kept them in the boy’s stroller, the complaint said.
Prosecutors did not say whether they thought that Mr Rosa, who served nearly 25 years in prison for drugs, weapons and other charges, under state records, had intent to harm his son. The charge of manslaughter in the second degree does not require that the person who causes the death willfully cause bodily harm.
Lawyer Rosa of the Legal Aid Society declined to comment.
Charles’ death on June 17 was ruled a murder in November following the completion of the tests. This comes amid a spike in fatal overdoses caused by fentanyl, a synthetic ultra-concentrated opioid, across the country, including New York.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 106 American children aged 5 and younger died of drug overdose in 2019, the latest year for which data are available. This was the highest rate since the center began tracking such deaths in 1999.
In just the past few months, fentanyl and other opioids have been linked to the deaths of an 11-month-old girl in South Carolina, a 10-month-old baby in Pennsylvania, a 2-year-old boy in Indiana, and a 15-year-old boy. month old boy in California.
The most recent opioid-related death in a young child in the city before Charles’ death appears to have been a one-year-old from the Bronx, Darwin Santana-Gonzalez, who died in 2018 after taking fentanyl and heroin in an apartment. where the drugs were packaged for sale.
The nonprofit Henry Street Settlement, which runs the orphanage where Charles died, said only that the family no longer lives there. The Homeless Department declined to comment, while the City Children’s Office said only that it was coordinating with the police.
In addition to manslaughter, Mr. Rosa is accused of harassing a social worker from a child services agency who was investigating his actions following the death of his son.
According to the complaint, Mr. Rosa has repeatedly sent social media. To a threatening messenger, including one that said, “I can find anyone in this city by the zip code, I’ll find your zone, and then I’ll be right in front of your door.”
Ashley Southall made reporting.