A superior court judge ruled Dana Dolan, 25, of Tilton, be held in preventive detention while he awaits trial for felony charges of negligent homicide, manslaughter and reckless conduct with a deadly weapon in connection to the overdose death of a 21-month-old toddler in November.
Dolan was arrested Saturday in Lancaster with the help of the Lancaster Police Department and the U.S. Marshal’s Office, New Hampshire Field Division, after the Londonderry Police Department issued a warrant for Dolan’s arrest and sought the public’s help in locating him.
“This defendant did not immediately turn himself in upon learning of this warrant,” Assistant County Attorney Kristin Vartanian said at a Monday arraignment and bail hearing at Rockingham County Superior Court.
Vartanian said Dolan was notified of the arrest warrant by his mother in Tilton, and was ultimately located “in a known drug house” in Lancaster, where he had been staying since he learned of the warrant.
When authorities confronted him, he allegedly fled to the rear of the Lancaster house and was apprehended by police, Vartanian said.
Dolan was allegedly using fentanyl in a 2002 Dodge Ram with two other adults, in close proximity to two small children on the night of Nov. 15 at the RMZ Truck Stop in Londonderry. On the morning of Nov. 16 police responded to a report of an unresponsive 2-year-old girl, who was later pronounced dead at Parkland Medical Center in Derry.
An autopsy report by the New Hampshire Medical Examiner’s office determined the 21-month-old girl, identified as A.G., died of acute fentanyl intoxication.
While Vartanian was reading the case summary and described witnesses calling 911 for emergency services on Nov. 16, Dolan interrupted in an emotional outburst.
“Don’t say that. I called 911 first. She hung up the phone,” Dolan said, referring to the mother of the victim. Dolan attended the hearing virtually from the Rockingham County House of Corrections.
Judge Martin Honigberg advised Dolan his attorney, Justin Shepherd, was present to speak for him.
Vartanian asked the court to place Dolan under preventive detention. Shepherd requested Dolan be evaluated for the pretrial release program so he can enter substance abuse treatment. Ultimately, Honigberg ruled Dolan be placed in preventive detention.
The victim’s parents, Mark Geremia, 32, and Shawna Cote, 29, have also been arrested with charges of negligent homicide, manslaughter and reckless conduct with a deadly weapon, as well as additional charges including endangering the welfare of a child, falsifying physical evidence and conspiracy to falsify physical evidence.
Geremia is also charged with three counts of possession of child sexual abuse images.
Judge David Ruoff ruled both Geremia and Cote be held in preventive detention and are prohibited from having any unsupervised contact with any minor children, including their own.
During Dolan’s arraignment, his attorney argued Dolan’s actions were consistent with a drug user, and that he may have avoided arrest out of fear of withdrawal symptoms. Shepherd also said Dolan’s behavior as described by police showed he tried to be careful not to harm the children.
“I don’t think he was nearly as culpable as the two adults who were in the front seat,” Shepherd said, referring to the parents.
Vartanian pointed out that Dolan admitted to purchasing some of the drugs with $100 of his own money and the three adults used the drugs together in “an extremely confined space with the two toddlers present.”
According to the arrest warrant affidavit, Dolan went with Geremia and Cote to purchase fentanyl in Lawrence, Massachusetts on Nov. 15. Geremia traded an ATV for some of the drugs, Dolan allegedly told police.
Police say they began using the drugs in Lawrence, while the girls were in the truck. Geremia drove them up to New Hampshire and pulled off at the Londonderry truck stop, where they did more drugs and stayed the night.
The next morning, Dolan said he awoke to Geremia in a state of panic because A.G. was unresponsive. Dolan said he administered Narcan on the child, fearing she had been exposed to the opioids, after observing Cote administer it incorrectly.
Vartanian stated in her summary that Dolan did attempt to call 911, but that Cote took the phone and hung up.
Police say Geremia and Cote busied themselves with destroying or hiding evidence to preserve themselves and did not make any earnest life-saving efforts on their child. Witnesses observed Geremia took a smoke break while performing CPR on the toddler.
Witnesses ultimately called 911 after they realized emergency services hadn’t arrived after 10 minutes had passed
The U.S. Marshal’s Office posted a $2,500 reward for any information leading to Dolan’s arrest. Sgt. Christopher Olson with Londonderry police said Dolan was found with the help of a tip.
Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Jeff White said there is a possibility some of the money will be awarded out.
“It’s still being finalized at this time. Nothing’s been decided yet,” White said.