A 14-year-old boy with special needs died Wednesday with fentanyl in his system, and his father and father’s girlfriend are now charged with neglecting the teen’s twin brother, who was emaciated when doctors examined him, court records show.
The father, John Michael Almond, 33, and his girlfriend, Jaclyn Coleman, 26, were both arraigned Thursday in Fall River District Court on charges of permitting abuse of an elderly or disabled person and possession of Class A drugs, legal filings show.
Not guilty pleas were entered on their behalf, and they were ordered held pending detention hearings Oct. 28, records show. The online court docket didn’t list attorneys for the pair.
A Fall River police report filed in court laid out the troubling details of the case.
The report said a detective was informed around 8:40 a.m. Wednesday that Almond’s son, David Almond, one of triplets with intellectual disabilities, had died at Charlton Memorial Hospital. He lived in an apartment on Green Street with his two brothers and another boy who’s Coleman’s biological son, as well as John Almond’s mother, the report said.
David Almond’s sibling and Coleman’s son were also taken to the hospital for evaluation, and David’s brother was deemed “too malnourished to leave behind,” the report said. A doctor told police David’s brother appeared to be emaciated.
And investigators noted a number of injuries to David Almond’s body when he was pronounced dead at the hospital. David Almond, the report said, appeared to weigh about 80 pounds and had bruises on both hands and feet, his left ankle and both knees, as well as cuts to both ears and an “open scrape” on his right shoulder blade.
Then around 3:20 p.m. Wednesday, the report said, hospital staff informed police that David Almond and his surviving brother had both tested positive for having fentanyl in their systems when they arrived at the medical facility.
The state Department of Children and Families took custody of all the surviving children in the residence, and John Almond told police in an interview that he and his girlfriend and mother “were all using heroin/fentanyl in the home," the report said.
Police executed a search warrant at the residence and found hundreds of “blue glassine baggies containing suspected heroin and/or fentanyl residue," the report said.
Coleman was also interviewed by police and refused to hand over her cell phone when officers told her they were going to seize the device, since she indicated she sometimes shared it with John Almond, who had admitted to buying heroin.
“I’m not gonna let him get in trouble,” Coleman said before she allegedly started smashing the phone against the table.
Police physically restrained her, the report said, and she pushed a detective backward into an aluminum shelf, causing him “minor back pain and discomfort,” the report said. For that alleged outburst, she was also charged with assault and battery on a police officer, officials said.
“After reading her right to remain silent and asking her if she understood that right, Jaclyn stated, 'Yeah, and I want a lawyer,” the report said.
Bristol District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III said in a statement that police were initially called to the Almond residence on Green Street around 7:45 a.m. Wednesday for a report of an unresponsive male, and when they arrived, they saw Coleman giving David Almond CPR, officials said.
“David Almond, who suffered from an intellectual disability, was rushed to Charlton Memorial Hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased,” Quinn said in a statement.
“The caretaker neglect charges relate to the surviving brother and not the deceased,” Quinn’s office said. “An autopsy will be conducted on David Almond later today or tomorrow. The investigation into his death remains extremely active. If, after autopsy findings are known, further information can be disseminated or new charges are lodged, this office will send out a follow up media advisory in the days or weeks ahead.”
Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.