Parents of 8-year-old who overdosed say boy knew not to touch ‘daddy’s medicine’: Police

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Mousa Hawa and Holly Back (Chester County DA) and Hunter Hawa (GoFundMe)

Mousa Hawa and Holly Back (Chester County DA) and Hunter Hawa (GoFundMe)

The parents of an 8-year-old boy in Pennsylvania were arrested after the child overdosed on cocaine and fentanyl in a home where authorities say they found “literally hundreds” of used drug baggies that were easily accessible to the victim.

Holly Back, 40, and Mousa Hawa, 41, were taken into custody and charged with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and other related charges in connection with the death of young Hunter Hawa, authorities announced.

“Parents have a sacred responsibility to care for their children,” Chester County District Attorney Christopher L. de Barrena-Sarobe said in a statement announcing the arrests. “Day after day, these Defendants prioritized easy access to drugs over the health and safety of their child, leaving deadly fentanyl within arm’s reach. It is inexcusable. And it is murder.”

According to a news release from the DA’s office, officers with the City of Coatesville Police Department at about 2:33 a.m. on July 26, 2023, responded to a 911 call reporting a child in cardiac arrest at a residence located in the 500 block of East Lincoln Highway.

Upon arriving at the scene, first responders made contact with Back who ushered them into the residence. Inside, officers found Mousa Hawa performing CPR on the boy, who was observed to have “ashen skin and cyanosis,” meaning his face and lips appeared blue in color. Authorities also allegedly observed clear signs of drug use.

“When officers took over the CPR, they noticed several crystalline baggies scattered throughout the living room and other medication bottles in a bag on the floor,” the release states.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that when the paraphernalia was discovered, Mousa Hawa went ballistic, screaming at paramedics to get out of his home and seeming “more concerned with law enforcement searching his house than going to the hospital” to accompany his dying son.

The victim was transported via ambulance to Chester County Hospital, but was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the facility.

Authorities at the scene said the family’s residence was “littered” with drugs and drug paraphernalia.

“Investigators located empty heroin bags in three separate locations on the floor of the room where responding officers first saw the victim child,” police said. “Investigators also found a shoebox that contained hundreds of small glassine bags that each contained blue fentanyl/heroin bags that were either empty or contained residue.”

A review of the parents’ cellphone messages also showed that on July 25, they were discussing using drugs.

In an interview with detectives, Mousa Hawa allegedly said that his son “knew not to touch the illegal drugs” because both him and Back referred to the drugs as “medicine,” which he was not allowed to touch unless it was given directly to him. Specifically, Mousa Hawa said that he referred to the drugs as “daddy’s medicine,” according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Philadelphia ABC affiliate WPVI.

“There was a box of literally hundreds of used heroin baggies that had been kept,” Barrena-Sarobe told the station. “What’s worse, with all the drug use signs around, they completely denied being drug users on the scene, which doesn’t help medical responders treat a child.”

A toxicology screening performed on the victim showed that the child had cocaine and fentanyl in his system at the time of his death. Test conducted on the victim’s hair sample also indicated that he had been exposed to those drugs prior to his overdose death.

Since Hunter’s death, the couple started a GoFundMe seeking money to pay for the victim’s funeral expenses. The fundraising page, which had raised $895 as of Wednesday, simply states that Hunter “died suddenly.”

Back is currently being held on $1 million bond. Mousa Hawa was already incarcerated on drug charges. It was not immediately clear when they were scheduled to appear in court.

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