GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — One of three young children who died in a house fire in Greensboro reportedly had cocaine in his system at the time of his death, an autopsy revealed.
The update emerged during a Monday court hearing for their mother, Brandi Sturdivant, 28, as she sobbed over a video call inside a Guilford County courtroom, answering for three counts of felony child abuse.
Three of her children, including a four-year-old and two one-year-old twins, died on Dec. 12 when their home on Grimsley Street went up in flames. The fire centered on the door frame of the room the three children shared, leaving them with no way out.
While investigators believe the cause of death for her four boys was related to the fire, new details are shedding light on the neglect inside the home.
“It was at an autopsy that the detective learned the four-year-old had cocaine in his system at the time of death,” the assistant district attorney said in court. “That in and of itself is another charge that will be forthcoming. … When Detective Bersino interviewed Ms. Sturdivant, she admitted she kept cocaine in her home in a box.”
Initially, the mother told investigators she was home at the time of the fire, but neighbors said they hadn’t seen her car after 6 a.m. that morning, according to the district attorney. Sturdivant later admitted that she had not been home at the time of the fire. Neighbors revealed to investigators that Sturdivant would often leave her five kids, all under the age of eight, home alone at night.
The district attorney said that they are expecting to file homicide charges.
Sturdivant’s bond, $150,000, will remain the same, and she is not allowed to have contact with any witnesses or her older surviving children.