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Search following toddler's death turns up quantities of drugs and a safe with $12,000

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

May 30. 2018 5:04PM
JOSHUA GARVEY, left and CHRISTEN GELINAS 



MANCHESTER — A toddler who died Friday ingested “an unknown substance from a found baggie” at the home of his parents, who are facing drug trafficking charges after a search uncovered heroin, crack-cocaine and other drugs along with more than $12,000 in cash, according to police.

Joshua Garvey, 31, and Christen Gelinas, 33, rushed the child — identified as T.G. in court papers — to Catholic Medical Center shortly before 4 p.m. on Friday, according to an affidavit filed Wednesday in Hillsborough County Superior Court North. 

When Gelinas discovered the boy, his head was planted into a couch cushion, his father asleep beside him. The boy’s lips were blue. 

At the emergency room, hospital staff performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation with no success. The boy was pronounced dead at 4:12 p.m., police reported.

An investigation into the child’s death is taking place. No charges had been filed in connection with the death as of Wednesday, said Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Brendon Thurston.

Thurston said Garvey and Gelinas are the parents of the child, and he knows of no other siblings. He has no indication that state child protection workers were involved with the family, he said.

“The death of any 20-month-old is a suspicious thing,” Thurston said. “These are very, very serious and very sad events. There’s just nothing more tragic than seeing the death of a 20-month-old child.”

Gelinas was out on bail for heroin trafficking charges in Massachusetts, according to disclosures she made in paperwork to obtain a court-appointed lawyer. 

When police tried to talk to Garvey at the emergency room on Friday, they found him sleeping and snoring. During an interview, he was incoherent and nodding off. He said he was a former heroin user.

The two were arrested late Tuesday night in Windham; each was charged with four counts of possession of drugs with the intent to distribute. They waived an arraignment in Hillsborough County Superior Court-North on Wednesday and agreed to be held on $200,000 cash-only bail.

The couple live on the first floor of a two-family home at 473 Hevey St., a neighborhood of well-kept multifamily buildings on the West Side. Neighbors told police that 15 to 30 people entered and left the Garvey-Gelinas apartment on a daily basis.

They saw Gelinas make hand-to-hand drug transactions, and Garvey escort people in and out of the apartment.

“It’s a shame because drugs have taken hold of Manchester,” said Nicole Valente, a mother of four who lives two doors down from the Garvey-Gelinas apartment. “There’s so many good people who do some things you wouldn’t imagine.”

Valente said she moved to the neighborhood just two months ago, so she had limited interactions with the couple. When she walked her children to the nearby store, they would wave at the little boy who lived at the house.

The home’s yard and a porch are clean. A small playset is in the front yard. Garvey played with his son, Valente said.

Heather Heath also said she saw Garvey playing with his son.

She has a 16-month-old. “I couldn’t imagine” losing a child, she said.

In an interview with police, Gelinas said she saw Garvey and the boy sleeping on the sofa on Friday afternoon. The boy, who was at his father’s feet, had his face pressed into a cushion. She went to adjust his head and noticed his lips were slightly blue. “(Gelinas) stated she panicked and attempted to rub his chest before taking him to the shower and running cold water on him,” the police account reads. A friend, Sean Jacobson, drove them to the hospital.

She told police 20 minutes had lapsed between the time she first moved her son and she arrived at the CMC emergency room. She told police the boy had been near baggies with drywall material in them. She initially told nurses that he had been playing outside and picked up a bag with a white, rock-like substance.

Armed with a warrant, police searched the home and found 28.1 grams of heroin, 11.8 grams of cocaine, 15.3 grams of crack-cocaine, three Suboxone strips, scales and a safe containing more than $12,000.

The drugs have a street value of more than $5,400, police said.

Given the quantities of heroin and crack cocaine, the two face drug charges that carry enhanced penalties of 15 to 30 years in state prison.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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