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Sheriff: 7-month-old child dies after exposure to fentanyl, meth

SLO County Sheriff's Office
Posted at 3:12 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 01:29:36-04

Three people are facing charges in connection with the death of a 7-month-old child in Paso Robles.

Sheriff's officials say, on February 4, first responders were called to a home on Meadowlark Ln. in Heritage Ranch for a report of a baby who was not breathing.

The little girl was reportedly airlifted to Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton and later to a children's hospital at Stanford University where she died.

According to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office, doctors determined the death was a potential case of child neglect and that the baby tested positive for exposure to fentanyl and methamphetamine.

Sheriff's officials say investigators served a search warrant at the parents' home in Heritage Ranch and found narcotics. They also say they found evidence that someone had tried to clean the crime scene before detectives could serve the warrant.

The sheriff's office says they also recovered evidence showing that the parents tried to get drugs while at the hospital in Stanford.

Following a three-month-long investigation, detectives last week arrested the child's parents, Shawn Luhm, 38, and Kayla Luhm, 31, on suspicion of willful cruelty to a child with possible injury or death.

Shawn Matthew Luhm and Kayla Anne Luhm

A third person, Melissa Currie, 36, of Atascadero was arrested on suspicion of being an accessory to the crime.

Melissa Dawn Currie white background.jpg
Melissa Dawn Currie

At a press conference on Monday, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said, "This is obviously a very sad case and it speaks to the dangers of drugs and especially to fentanyl where just a very small amount can be deadly, particularly to a child."

He says that last year, sheriff's officials seized more fentanyl in the county than they seized methamphetamine.

Also in 2020, Sheriff Parkinson says there were 88 drug overdose deaths in San Luis Obispo County and 34 of those people had fentanyl in their systems. So far this year, he says there have been 16 drug overdose deaths, 9 of which involved fentanyl. Another 25 potential drug overdose cases remain open.

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow says he hopes getting the word out about the dangers of fentanyl will help stop its use in the community.

"That's why my office, along with all of our law enforcement partners, take dealing of any hard drugs like heroin, other opiates, methamphetamine and especially fentanyl very, very seriously," Dow said. "We will continue to vigorously investigate and prosecute any individuals that are selling these types of illicit drugs in our community because we want to keep them out of the hands of children, and adults quite frankly, because they are so deadly."

Dow says this case remains open and anyone with further information about the child's death is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at (805) 549-STOP.

The Luhms and Currie are no longer in custody after posting bail on Friday, according to the sheriff's office.