Sources: Baby in foster care may have been exposed to fentanyl before death

LAWRENCE, Mass. — The Essex County District Attorney's Office is investigating the death of a 15-month-old girl who died at Lawrence General Hospital Sunday morning.

The girl, who was in foster care at a home on Howard Street, was rushed to Lawrence General Hospital Sunday morning after her foster father call 911 to report she was unresponsive. The DA's office says she was pronounced dead a short time after arriving at the hospital.

The girl showed "no obvious signs of trauma," according to the district attorney's office.

Sources and family members, however, have told Boston 25 News the child may have been exposed to fentanyl.

Family members gave Boston 25 News a photo of the young girl Wednesday afternoon.

Jeremy Barrientos first learned of the news of his biological daughter's sudden death when DCF came knocking at his door.

"I don't understand how that could happen. How does that happen, I don't understand," Barrientos said.

The 18-year-old admits he's had no involvement in his baby girl's life since she was born 15 months ago. Her 2-year-old brother was also living at the same foster home.

"I wish it went different, I wish she was OK. It hurts, it does hurt," he said.

Sources also tell us the girl showed signs of a fever while at daycare four days before her sudden death.

An investigation has been launched and the state's Chief Medical Examiner is working to determine the cause of death.

DCF tells Boston 25 News it "received a report and is investigating in collaboration with law enforcement." The Essex County District Attorney's Office said law enforcement investigates any case alongside DCF whether or not the death appears to be criminal.

Boston 25 News asked DCF when the agency licensed the Lawrence foster home, but a spokesperson said they could not comment because of the ongoing investigation.