Booking Photo (11/08/22) Jennifer Mae Niemann (DOB 08/24/92)
Booking Photo (11/08/22) Jennifer Mae Niemann (DOB 08/24/92)

Jennifer Niemann of San Luis Obispo Sentenced to four years in Prison for Child Endangerment Resulti

Author: District Attorney
Date: 12/14/2022 5:34 PM

Jennifer Mae Niemann (30) has been sentenced to four years in state prison for child endangerment resulting in the death of her 3-year-old son from ingestion of fentanyl.

District Attorney Dan Dow announced today that San Luis Obispo resident Jennifer Mae Niemann (DOB 08/24/92) has been sentenced to four years in state prison for her conviction of child endangerment resulting in the death of her 3-year-old son.  The conviction came after Neimann entered a plea of guilty to the sole count.  The District Attorney recommended the maximum sentence of six years based on the severity of the crime and the conduct of Niemann after the crime.

The death occurred in San Luis Obispo on May 4, 2022.  Niemann made a 911 call reporting her young child was unresponsive.  First responders arrived and found the child unconscious.  Life saving efforts failed and the child was pronounced dead.  Forensic testing revealed the child died of acute fentanyl intoxication.  The child had been in the sole custody and control of Niemann for many days before his death.      

“Drug use is not a victimless crime. The life of this precious three-year-old child was tragically taken away as a result of his mother’s use of illicit drugs and recklessly exposing her child to them,” said District Attorney Dan Dow.  “Our office stands ready to aggressively prosecute anyone who abuses drugs and harms others in our community.  To anyone selling illicit drugs in our community, know this: we are looking for you, we will find you, and you will be held accountable. “

At the sentencing hearing Deputy District Attorney Danielle Baker read to the court a 3-page written statement prepared by the father of the young child which described his son as “very happy, energetic, and healthy” and the “confusion and betrayal” he felt when he learned that his “three-year-old son had overdosed on a pharmaceutical grade narcotic that is 50 times stronger than heroin.”  The sentencing court was provided with three videos showing the child in-life as healthy, active, and charismatic.  The final video depicted the child singing happy birthday to his father the day before his death.  

Fentanyl is a highly potent synthetic opioid, estimated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to be 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.[1]  It is deadly dangerous when ingested alone but is often mixed with other illicit drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin or pressed into fake pharmaceutical pills.

A dose of just 2 milligrams of fentanyl, alone or mixed with another substance, can be fatal depending on the user’s size and tolerance.[2]  According to the USDEA, 60% of all fake pharmaceutical pills tested by their lab in 2021 contained potentially lethal quantities of fentanyl.[3]

DEA illustration of 2 milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose in most adults.

DEA illustration of 2 milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose in most adults.

The case was investigated by the San Luis Obispo City Police Department with the assistance of the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Danielle Baker who is assigned to the District Attorney’s Sexual Violence and Child Abuse Unit.

Click here to view a copy of the charging document.  Click here to view a copy of the defendant’s booking photo. 

Please contact Assistant District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth at 805.781.5819 with any questions.