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Pennsylvania mother sentenced to at least 2 years in prison after 5-year-old daughter's fatal overdose

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Cambria County mother was sentenced to two to four years in state prison in connection with the fatal overdose of her 5-year-old daughter. 

In a news release on Monday, Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry said that 27-year-old Volaura Askew pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child and recklessly endangering another person in connection with the case.

"This tragedy will have long-lasting impacts on the community and the many people who loved this young girl — and all that devastation was caused by the choices and actions of her own mother," Henry said in the release. "This case is a sad example of the deadly threat fentanyl poses to everyone, including our young children."

The release said that an investigation by law enforcement found that the mother exposed her daughter to fentanyl/heroin "in the hours and days" before the child was found dead on Oct. 27, 2022, in her home in Johnstown. An autopsy, according to the release, found that the 5-year-old girl died of a fentanyl overdose. 

Two other people, Albert Spicer and Elyse Young, were also charged with drug-dealing offenses in connection with the case. 

"Investigators determined Spicer was a supplier of illegal drugs, and Askew was staying at Young's home, which Spicer was allegedly using as a stash house following his release from prison," the news release said. 

Officials said Askew and Young used fentanyl and heroin at Young's house before the child's death.   

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