Three Whatcom residents charged with 5-year-old’s overdose death


Three Whatcom County residents have been charged with the death of a 5-year-old girl who overdosed from fentanyl in early March.

Ferndale police officers arrested Melissa Ann Welch, 35, Cody Curtis Craig, 32, and Michael Wayne Doane, 33, for first-degree murder on April 13. Welch and Craig were arrested in the 3300 block of Northwest Avenue in Bellingham and Doane was arrested in the 2300 block of Douglas Road in Ferndale. 

Ferndale police responded to the 2300 block of Douglas Road in Ferndale around 9 a.m. on March 8 to investigate the death of a 5-year-old girl, according to the affidavit of probable cause (AFC) filed in Whatcom County Superior Court. 

Investigators found the child in her bed with foam coming from her mouth, which indicated a possible drug overdose, according to the AFC. The Whatcom County Medical Examiner’s Office later found that a high level of fentanyl in the child’s system caused her death, according to court records.

Welch and Doane were the victim’s parents and Craig was Welch’s boyfriend. The three adults were at the home the night of the child’s death and are suspected of using drugs within the residence, according to the AFC. Court records show drug paraphernalia and fentanyl, methamphetamine and methadone were found at the home. Fentanyl was within reach of the victim and her 8-year-old sibling, some of which was allegedly located just feet from Nerf darts and smiley face stickers.

Investigators witnessed Welch and Craig sell narcotics days after the child’s death while surveilling Craig as part of a narcotics investigation, according to the AFC. 

“This conduct manifested an extreme indifference to the life of [the victim],” a Ferndale police officer wrote in his report.

Ferndale police and Child Protective Services relocated the 8-year-old with other family members, according to the city of Ferndale. Whatcom County Jail records show Welch, Craig and Doane remain in jail as of April 18. 


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