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2-year-old girl dies of suspected overdose near downtown Minneapolis

2-year-old girl dies of suspected fentanyl overdose in Minneapolis shelter
2-year-old girl dies of suspected fentanyl overdose in Minneapolis shelter 02:16

MINNEAPOLIS — Police are investigating after they say a toddler fatally overdosed on Tuesday evening at an emergency homeless shelter near downtown Minneapolis.

Around 5:30 p.m., dispatch received a report regarding an unresponsive 2-year-old girl who was not breathing at Higher Ground on the 100 block of Glenwood Avenue, according to the Minneapolis Police Department.

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara says that when officers arrived, they found suspected drugs near the girl. Officers attempted life-saving efforts and even administered Narcan, an opioid overdose reversal drug, but that was not enough to save the girl. She was transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center, where she later died.

O'Hara added that they suspect fentanyl caused the overdose. 

One of the girl's parents, a second adult not believed to be related to the girl and the girl's 7-year-old sibling were present at the time of the overdose, police say. No arrests have been made. 

"It's a terrible, really tragic situation here," O'Hara said. "Seeing things like this is difficult, especially when it's not a good outcome. No matter what the officers try to do — provide Narcan, provide CPR — it just does not work. That's not easy for officers to go through."

In a statement to WCCO, Catholic Charities, who operate the shelter and affordable apartment complex, say they're grieving too, and that they work to prevent things like this from happening. They say the space is for adults only.

"A housing resident violated our visitor policies," Catholic Charities said in a statement. "Staff were not informed that any minor or adult visitors were present for this resident until police and EMS arrived." 

"I think it's so important that we do look, we do see, we do act," said John Rankin, a resident of the apartment complex. "It's going to get worse. A two-year-old? We've got to stop it."

"It's got to stop. The staff has to be more aware — but also, as a resident, you've got to look out for each other," said Tim Nelson, who is also a resident.

In an update Wednesday, Minneapolis police called the death suspicious. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

The child's official cause of death will be determined by a medical examiner.

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