Sixteen-month-old Kingston Jenkins had eaten some oatmeal and fallen asleep on a bed between his two babysitters when the women decided to watch a morning movie.
That’s when Haley Godshall pulled a bag of fentanyl from her bra and passed the powerful synthetic opioid to her friend, Daisy Bare. Both women used the drug — with Kingston still napping between them — before they, too, drifted off.
When they awoke, they noticed that something was seriously wrong with the little boy.
That night, Kingston died at a nearby hospital. The cause: a lethal dose of fentanyl.
On Tuesday in a Catawba County courtroom, Godshall, 24, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in connection with Kingston’s death.
Superior Court Judge Karen Eady-Williams of Charlotte sentenced the Hickory-area woman to at least 33 months on the manslaughter charge and at least 20 additional months on additional drug- and larceny-related charges. In all, Godshall will serve between four and seven years.
Bare is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 24.
According to the Hickory Daily Record, Godshall was close friends with the child’s mother, Alexia Jenkins, and had called Jenkins on the morning of Nov. 7, 2021, to ask if she could keep Kingston for the day.
But prosecutors say Godshall and Bare both smoked methamphetamine before they picked the boy up and drove him to Godshall’s home in nearby Long View.
“I lost my son, but I also lost someone I trusted, a friend, someone I loved,” Jenkins told the judge during Godshall’s hearing, according to the newspaper. “I wish things could have been more careful. I don’t hate anyone.”
Fentanyl, which is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine, was originally developed as a pain medication for cancer patients. Illegal dealers often pass it off as a powerful form of heroin, which leads to frequent overdose deaths, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. As little as 2 mg can be fatal.
In 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 71,238 deaths nationwide from fentanyl overdoses, a 23% increase over the year before.
In North Carolina, the figures remain equally grim. In 2020, for example, the state estimated that up to 70% of the state’s overdose deaths that year were linked to illicitly produced fentanyl.
On Aug. 29, Iredell County deputies seized 1.4 pounds of fentanyl, an amount large enough to kill all of the county’s 250,000 residents, authorities said at the time.
A mystery remains
How Kingston ingested the drug remains somewhat of a mystery. At Godshall’s hearing, Eady-Williams asked Assistant District Attorney Nancy Lee if the level of fentanyl in the toddler’s body was more than what he would have ingested from the air while Godshall and Bare passed the drug between themselves.
Lee said it was, adding that it remained unclear whether Kingston had absorbed the lethal dose while the women slept.
“I have no doubt Miss Godshall loved the baby, wanted to care for the baby,” Eady-Williams said during the hearing. “But based on her addiction, the disease of addiction, (she) was not in the best position to care for anybody’s child.
“I am grateful that the family has a forgiving heart ...”