Parents indicted for toddler's fatal overdose

Shawna Cote and Mark Geremia

LONDONDERRY — The parents of a 21-month-old girl who died after ingesting fentanyl have been indicted by a grand jury.

Shawna Cote, 29, is facing an extended term of imprisonment for being a principal/accomplice to homicide, manslaughter, and reckless conduct, as well as falsifying physical evidence and conspiring to falsify physical evidence, according to court documents available Tuesday.

Mark Geremia, 32, has been indicted on matching charges, plus three counts of possessing child sexual abuse images. Police say they found lewd pictures of Geremia's two young daughters on his cell phone.

A third alleged accomplice in the case is Dana Dolan, 25, whose indictment was announced last week.

Investigators have not identified the victim publicly, only that she was the youngest daughter of Cote and Geremia. Her older sister, now 5, was also inside the cab of a pickup truck with the parents and Dolan on Nov. 16, 2020.

That day, police were called to RMZ truck stop in Londonderry for reports of an unconscious child.

Investigators say they learned about how Cote, Geremia and Dolan drove to Lawrence the day before. Having successfully traded an ATV for drugs, they got high together for several hours – at least three times. They admitted to staying at the Londonderry truck stop overnight.

Both children were present each time the drugs were used, according to investigators, sometimes on their mother’s lap or in car seats. The adults would sometimes fall asleep after using, leaving the girls unsupervised, police said.

On one occasion, Cote is accused of falling asleep while she cut heroin on a book.

According to a witness at the truck stop, Geremia threw what looked like a book or a binder into the woods before performing CPR on a distressed girl in the driver’s seat of the truck.

At one point, he stopped CPR to smoke a cigarette, the witness said. Concerned that no one had dialed 911, the witness said he called for help.

Others told police about Cote’s presence at the frantic scene, and that she was holding the older girl as she walked toward a gas station across the street.

Investigators said they eventually located her in that area, and upon returning to the store’s restroom later, they found a child’s size winter vest covered in powder – later confirmed as fentanyl – in a trash can.

Prior to their indictments, Cote and Geremia asked a judge to release them from prison while awaiting trial. Both requests were denied, and the judge questioned how seriously the defendants are taking their cases.

The couple's surviving daughter and a newborn son are in the care of other family members and DCYF.

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