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SLO mother sentenced to prison for fentanyl-related death of toddler

Jennifer Mae Niemann background 2021.jpg
Posted at 6:23 PM, Dec 14, 2022

A San Luis Obispo woman was sentenced to four years in state prison for child endangerment resulting in the death of her three-year-old son after the boy ingested fentanyl.

Jennifer Mae Niemann, 30, pleaded guilty to the charge. She faced a maximum sentence of six years in prison.

According to San Luis Obispo police, Niemann's son was found unresponsive at a home in the 1600 block of Mill St. on May 4, 2022. He was taken to a local hospital but never regained consciousness and died that night.

Police said toxicology results from an autopsy determined the child died from a fatal level of fentanyl in his system.

Investigators said the child had been in Niemann's sole custody for many days before his death and that she was responsible for allowing him access to the drug.

“Drug use is not a victimless crime. The life of this precious three-year-old child was tragically taken away as a result of his mother’s use of illicit drugs and recklessly exposing her child to them,” District Attorney Dan Dow said in a press release issued on Wednesday.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates to be 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Just 2 milligrams of the drug can be fatal, depending on the user’s size and tolerance.