Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 61° Clear
News >  Crime/Public Safety

Father of 1-year-old girl who died of fentanyl overdose arrested on suspicion of murder

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 19, 2022

The father of a toddler who died of a fentanyl overdose late last year now faces numerous charges related to her death, including murder.

Frank R. Marusic, 31, was arrested on Dec. 16 for suspicion of six drug related charges.

On Jan. 14, seven additional charges were added in Spokane County Superior Court, including second-degree murder and possession of a controlled substance.

Spokane Police Detectives conducted multiple drug-buys from Marusic with a confidential informant starting in early September and continuing throughout the month, according to court documents.

Then on Dec. 4, multiple people at Marusic’s residence called 911 when his 17-month-old daughter was found not breathing, according to court documents.

The toddler’s mother told first responders that the couple’s roommate administered Narcan to the young girl, according to court documents. Narcan, which is a brand of naloxone, is used as an emergency treatment of known or suspected opioid overdose.

After three days in the hospital, the toddler was declared brain dead and taken off life support, according to court documents.

A drug screening done by the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed fentanyl in the girl’s system, court documents show.

Police responded to the hospital and began investigating the toddler’s condition shortly after she was admitted.

Marusic’s account of how the toddler was found and what had happened changed numerous times during multiple police interviews and recorded phone conversations from the Spokane County Jail, according to court documents.

Witnesses and the toddler’s parents told police she was found unresponsive in the living room, according to court documents. The mother screamed for help and the couple’s roommate called 911 before beginning CPR, according to court documents.

Marusic then gave the roommate Narcan to give to the toddler, witnesses told police.

The roommate said both Marusic and his girlfriend liked to dabble with mexi-blues, a pill made to look like prescription narcotics that often contains large amounts of fentanyl.

Marusic kept mexi-blues in a little candy container and had given some to the roommate two days earlier, she told police.

The roommate said she took care of the toddler and her 4-year-old brother for a few months when Marusic and his girlfriend had been unable to care for them, according to court documents.

The little girl also lived at her grandmother’s house for a time, the roommate told police. The toddler and her brother would visit the house where the roommate lived with Marusic and his girlfriend on weekends.

When interviewed by police, Marusic said he had been sober for a few months and that his downstairs roommates were the ones who had fentanyl, according to court documents.

When police searched the house, they found drug paraphernalia, according to court documents.

Marusic gave varied statements to police on whether it was his idea or the roommate’s idea to give the toddler Narcan. At one point, Marusic told police he found the toddler with a burnt foil that had been used to smoke drugs, but since he didn’t see any residue on the foil, he didn’t worry, according to court documents.

None of the other residents of the home had been charged with crimes related to the incident as of Wednesday afternoon.

As of earlier this year, Marusic has three prior felony convictions, including robbery and domestic violence assault, according to court documents. He remains in the Spokane County Jail on more than a $1 million bond.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.