8-Year-Old Boy Who Died Last July Had Cocaine and Fentanyl in System. Now His Parents Are Charged with Murder

Prosecutors allege that drug paraphernalia was found in the room where the boy overdosed

<p>Founds-Feryo Burial Services, Chester County District Attorney (2)</p> Hunter Hawa, left, Mousa Hawa, center, Holly Back

Founds-Feryo Burial Services, Chester County District Attorney (2)

Hunter Hawa, left, Mousa Hawa, center, Holly Back

The parents of an 8-year-old boy who fatally overdosed on fentanyl in July 2023 have now been charged with murder in his death.

On July 26, 2023, police in Coatesville, Pa., responded to a home where it was reported that a child was in cardiac arrest. The child, identified in an obituary as Hunter Hawa, was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office says.

Police who responded to the home allegedly found empty bags of heroin on the floor of the room where the boy was found, according to prosecutors, and a shoebox containing hundreds of bags containing blue fentanyl and bags that were either empty or contained heroin residue.

Blood and urine samples taken from the victim contained cocaine and fentanyl, prosecutors say, and hair samples had traces of fentanyl, meaning he had additional exposure prior to the date of his death.

Hunter’s parents, Mousa Hawa and Holly Band, are now facing charges of third-degree murder, among other charges, prosecutors say.

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Prosecutors claim that Mousa referred to the drug paraphernalia as “medicine” and allegedly told investigators that his son knew not to touch the "medicine" unless it was given to him. Detectives searched the suspects’ phones and allegedly found messages discussing drug use from July 25, according to prosecutors.

“Parents have a sacred responsibility to care for their children,” District Attorney Christopher L. de Barrena-Sarobe says in a statement announcing the charges. “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."

It is not immediately clear if either has entered a plea or retained an attorney. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 12.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.

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