Mother pleads not guilty in toddler's fentanyl death that exposed problems at DCFS
BATON ROUGE - The mother of a 2-year-old boy who died after he swallowed fentanyl pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.
Whitney Ard, 29, was back in court Tuesday, where she officially entered the plea. It comes months after her arrest in July, when investigators determined she was at fault in her child's death.
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office said Ard was an accused drug dealer who used her home as a storage unit for narcotics, and deputies noted that she had been reported to the Department of Children and Family Services on multiple occasions after her son, Mitchell Robinson III, nearly died from overdoses on two separate occasions prior to his death in June.
Ard is due back in court for a motions hearing on Jan. 31, 2023.
Robinson's death kicked off a wave of scrutiny at DCFS that only gained steam as more missteps were exposed in the following months, ultimately leading to the head of the agency stepping down just last week.
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