As Ciara Hadrick rested in her hospital bed on May 5, Travis Siuta allegedly walked into her room and hand-delivered her a lethal dose of fentanyl that ultimately led to her death, Montgomery County officials announced Wednesday afternoon.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said the 30-year-old Norristown mother of three was poisoned "while in a hospital, surrounded by people trying to help her."
"This dealer hand-delivers poison to her bedside five times, including in the middle of the night."
The investigation began May 6 at the Einstein Medical Center Montgomery on West Germantown Pike in East Norriton. A nurse found Hadrick unresponsive in the bathroom of her hospital room at 2:30 a.m. She was pronounced dead at 3:06 a.m. after attempts to revive her were unsuccessful.
Police say empty blue wax-style bags were found under her body, and one blue wax-style bag containing a white powdery substance was found in her clothing. The packaging is commonly used for packaging heroin, police said. Drug paraphernalia was also found.
Investigators soon learned that hours before, at 11:49 p.m. on May 5, Siuta signed the hospital’s after-hours sign-in log to visit Hadrick in her hospital room. Police say he was captured on surveillance video leaving her room eight minutes later.
Text messages obtained by police revealed Siuta, 29, of East Norriton, delivered three bags of heroin to Hadrick that night, officials said.
It was the fifth time Siuta delivered drugs to Hadrick while she was in the hospital, according to investigators. Each visit was arranged by text message, and Siuta was caught on surveillance video leaving the hospital each time, police said.
Officials with the National Medical Services tested the bags recovered from Hadrick’s room and discovered fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 40 to 50 times stronger than street-level heroin, inside. An autopsy confirmed Hadrick died from an accidental overdose by fentanyl.
Siuta is charged with drug delivery resulting in death, possession with intent to deliver, criminal use of a communication facility, recklessly endangering another person and possession of a controlled substance.
“I want to be loud and clear again with this message: If you deal drugs like pills, heroin or fentanyl, and we can prove that the drugs you sold caused someone’s death, you will be charged with homicide," Steele said.
"This is our fourth arrest for this charge in 2017, and I can assure you that more arrests will be coming.”
A spokesperson for the Einstein Healthcare Network released a statement on Hadrick's death, offering condolences to her family and explaining the Einstein Medical Center Montgomery's policy on open visitation.
"Like many other hospitals, Einstein Medical Center Montgomery maintains an open visitation policy as long as that is appropriate for each individual patient," the spokesperson wrote. "In light of this incident, we are currently reviewing this policy."
Siuta was arraigned Wednesday. His bail was denied, and he was remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 9.