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SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — Prosecutors in Northern California filed murder charges against the parents of a 15-month-old toddler who died in May after she ingested fentanyl authorities believe her mother had been using.

Prosecutors on Thursday also charged Evan Frostick, 26, and Madison Bernard, 23, with child cruelty and tacked on a sentence-enhancing charge alleging their actions willfully caused the suffering of a child, the Press Democrat reported.

The couple, who police have described as boyfriend and girlfriend, were briefly arrested on suspicion of child cruelty on May 9, the day their daughter died, but they were released two days later pending further investigation to determine whether fentanyl played a role in the child’s death.

Frostick is being represented by the Sonoma County Public Defender’s office. They didn’t immediately returned a message seeking comment Friday. It was not immediately known if Bernard has an attorney who can speak on her behalf.

The Sonoma County Coroner’s Office determined last month that “acute fentanyl intoxication” caused the death of 15-month-old Charlotte Frostick.

According to the coroner’s report, Bernard used fentanyl and went to sleep while drugs and paraphernalia were on the bed she shared with Charlotte inside their Sonoma Avenue apartment.

Investigators believe Charlotte ingested the fentanyl by touching it and then possibly putting her hands in her mouth or eyes, the newspaper reported.

Charlotte Frostick died nearly three years after the opioid-related death of another Santa Rosa toddler.

In September 2019, fentanyl was blamed for the deaths of Patrick O’Neill, 29, and his 13-month-old son, Liam, who were discovered inside their Santa Rosa home.

Three defendants were charged with supplying O’Neill the opioids. They were convicted in federal court on lesser charges of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl.

In the city of Brentwood, a mother was charged with murder in Contra Costa County Superior Court after her 2-year-old son consumed fentanyl in November 2020. In July 2021, she pleaded no contest to one count of voluntary manslaughter and was later sentenced to 11 years in prison, court records show.

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Haunting Elvis theory claims singer was destined to die young due to shocking reason

ELVIS Presley's tragic death at the age of 42 was not caused by self-destruction and drug abuse but was instead a tragic inevitability spurred by bad genes in the singer's family tree, a biographer claims.

Myths and misconceptions have continued to swirl around Elvis' death in the 45 years since the legendary performer was found unresponsive in the bathroom of his Graceland mansion on August 16, 1977.

11Elvis Presley died aged 42 in a bathroom at his mansion in Memphis, TN, on Aug. 16 1977Credit: Getty - Contributor 11A young Elvis is pictured with his mom, Gladys, and father, VernonCredit: Getty

His official cause of death was ruled a heart attack, a tragic fate that has long been attributed to The King's excessive indulgence in prescription drugs and unhealthy foods.

Those attributions can be traced back to news coverage from the time, with reports painting the star as a bloated, forlorn drug addict; a rock'n'roll cliche who popped one too many pills and died long before his time as consequence.

But for author and life-long fan Sally Hoedel, the cause of Elvis' premature demise is not so clear-cut - and certainly not a cautionary tale about the perils of fame and self-destruction.

In fact, Hoedel believes that Elvis was always destined to die young because of a series of defective genes likely passed down to him by his maternal grandparents, Bob Smith and Doll Mansell, who were first cousins.

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Those faulty genes were aggravating factors behind his various health issues, she says, which he in turn treated with a cocktail of prescription drugs.

"That first cousin marriage obviously causes a lot of issues," Hoedel told The US Sun in a phone interview from her home in Michigan.

"Elvis' mom Gladys died very young at 46 and she had three brothers who all died at similar ages from heart and lung-related issues.

"So it stops being a coincidence by the time it gets to Elvis," she added, "because there's so much going on in that family tree."

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For her book, Elvis: Destined to Die Young, Hoedel painstakingly researched the medical history of the Presley family through a scientific lens and unearthed never-before-reported information.

Her interest in the topic was piqued after noticing a series of similarities in the deaths of Elvis and his much-beloved mother Gladys, who died almost exactly 19 years before him on Aug. 14, 1958.

Gladys, like her superstar son, died of heart failure. She was 46, just four years older than Elvis when he passed away.

Additionally, both Elvis and Gladys suffered a "similar four-year period of degenerative health" in the lead-up to their deaths, according to Hoedel, "which is interesting because they weren't taking the same kinds of medication."

Research conducted by Hoedel found that Gladys had been seeing a cardiologist since at least 1956, and was also hospitalized for two weeks that same year with a mystery illness.

Shortly before her death, Gladys was also diagnosed with hepatitis, the origins of which baffled her doctors at the time.

The condition, which targets the lungs and liver, was thought to have been related to Gladys' alcoholism.

11Elvis was born and raised in extreme poverty in the deep southCredit: Getty 11The legendary crooner inherited defective genes which may have made his premature death inevitable, according to biographer Sally HoedelCredit: Getty 11Gladys (right) died of heart failure at the age of 46, almost exactly 19 years before Elvis' deathCredit: Public Domain

Born and raised in extreme poverty in the deep south, Gladys' struggles to cope with her son's meteoric ascension to fame and fortune are well documented, with the self-described "most miserable woman in the world" reportedly once telling a friend over the phone, "I wish we were poor again, I really do."

Growing increasingly isolated and depressed as Elvis became a global sensation, Gladys began drinking excessively and taking diet pills - a downward spiral that many believe led to her hepatitis diagnosis and ultimately contributed to her death.

Gladys fell seriously ill just a few months after Elvis enlisted in the US Army. The timing of her downturn in health spurred theories that Gladys drank herself to death, wracked with worry and suffering from a broken heart while her son was serving overseas in Germany.

For Hoedel, any such claims are just baseless "romanticism."

"Gladys has always been painted as this woman whose son became famous, bought her a big house and she just struggled to deal with it all and essentially died of a broken heart," the author and historian said.

"But that's not how it works. I think Elvis and Vernon [Elvis' dad] both knew who knew how sick she was before he left for the army.

"They were all so sad because I believe for sure that they knew they didn't have a lot of time left with her."

FAMILY TIES

Contrary to popular folklore, Hoedel believes - like Elvis - the causes of Gladys' death and ill-health lie further up the family tree.

"The Presleys were incredibly secretive about their health," Hoedel said, "but I managed to interview people like Nancy Clarke, the daughter of Gladys’ cardiologist, who used to go on house calls with her dad to the Presley home.

"And she told me before her dad passed away, he said there was more to Gladys' death than what he understood because he's long been quoted as saying it looked like hepatitis, but it wasn't, and he couldn't work out what was wrong with her."

Hoedel believes that Gladys was actually suffering from Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, an inherited and rarely diagnosed disorder that can cause lung and liver disease.

"We know Elvis had it because he found to be a carrier for Alpha-1 after his death, so it had to come from somewhere" she added.

"And it all leads back to Gladys' parents."

In her book, Hoedel examines the health issues of Elvis' grandmother, Doll Smith, who is believed to have suffered from Tuberculosis for more than 30 years.

“Again, something that doesn’t make sense, but continued to be passed down the family tree and then throughout recorded Elvis history as well," said Hoedel.

“This book explains how that Tuberculosis was most certainly a misdiagnosis in the early 1900s.

“From there, with the first-cousin marriage, we can see that Gladys most likely inherited two damaged genes and a more serious version of the disease.”

SURVIVAL, NOT SELF-DESTRUCTION

All of Gladys' brothers died of heart and liver-related issues in their forties and early fifties too.

Faulty and defective genes were also passed down to Elvis, Hoedel's research suggests.

In fact, the legendary crooner was suffering from diseases in nine of the 11 bodily systems, including his heart, his lungs, and his bowels.

Five of those disease processes, she says, were present from birth.

Rather than a star burning out in a reckless spiral of self-destruction, as is often painted, Hoedel believes Elvis was a man who struggled every day to survive.

11Elvis Presley is one of the most iconic and recognizable performers of all timeCredit: Getty 11Hoedel said Elvis' legacy has been unfairly reduced to that of a rockstar cliche in the years since his deathCredit: Michael Ochs Archives - Getty 11Elvis is pictured above performing shortly before his death in June, 1977Credit: Getty - Contributor 11For her book, Elvis: Destined to Die Young, Hoedel painstakingly researched the medical history of the Presley family through a scientific lens

His prescription drug problem, she says, may have been the result of Elvis and his infamous physician, George "Nick" Nichopolous, attempting to treat his various congenital illnesses, rather than just mindless overconsumption.

"Elvis had various health issues but he hid them so well that the over-medication is what we remember now," said Hoedel.

"He often took too much, and there are issues there, but you have to ask why he was taking those pills in the first place.

"One of the reasons Elvis turned to the medication was pain, he was also a lifelong insomniac, but the reason he was self-medicating was that he was trying to find a way to be Elvis Presley."

REHUMANIZING THE KING

The more he toured, the more medication he would need to function through his various ailments, Hoedel suggests.

But Elvis - a devoted son, husband, father, and friend - couldn't simply stop performing. He had more than 100 people on his payroll, relying on him to keep bringing the money in to keep them all afloat.

Memphis Mafia member Lamar Fike told Hoedel he begged Elvis to quit touring after the singer complained of fatigue and pain.

"I have to make payroll," The King responded.

Speaking of the once electric performer's ailing health during his final years, Elvis' bodyguard Ed Parker described him as a "battery that had been drained too many times."

"His body could no longer hold a charge," Parker said.

Still, on Elvis soldiered, until his life came to an abrupt end on Aug. 16, 1977.

Ultimately, as her book title suggests, Hoedel believes that Elvis was always destined to die young, and nothing could've saved The King of Rock 'n' Roll from the unfavorable genetic hand he was dealt.

For the author, examining Elvis' faulty genetic make-up was an effort to re-humanize the mythical figure of Presley, who she feels in the years since his death has been reduced to a rockstar cliche who simply died alone on the bathroom floor.

"There are so many myths and misconceptions about how Elvis lived, not just in how he died, and it isn't fair on Elvis," said Hoedel.

"I think Elvis is the greatest victim of sensationalism and romanticism, and both have kind of plagued and haunted his legacy and prevented him from being remembered as the incredibly important historical figure he is.

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"Elvis shifted our universe culturally like no one has before and he deserves to be treated like a Henry Ford or Thomas Edison of pop culture.

"But the sex drugs and rock'n'roll narrative has held him back - he deserves a bigger place in American history."

11Elvis Presley sits cheek to cheek with his bride, Priscilla, following their wedding May 1, 1967Credit: Getty 11Elvis suffered from disease in nine of the 11 bodily systems, including is heart, his lungs, and his bowels, according to HoedelCredit: Getty

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