1-year-old dies of apparent heroin overdose in Provo

One-year-old Penny Mae Cormani died of an apparent heroin overdose in a Provo home, photo location and date unspecified | Obituary photo from Wing Mortuary, St. George News

UTAH – Police are investigating the death of 1-year-old girl who died from an apparent heroin overdose in Provo, according to four warrant affidavits unsealed Tuesday in 4th District Court.

On Dec. 2, 2015, police and paramedics responded to the Provo residence of David and Sina Belgard, 509 W. 1800 North, where the 1-year-old child, Penny Cormani, was found unresponsive. At that time, according to the warrant affidavits, police also found “numerous items of drug paraphernalia” inside the home.

Heroin overdose
One-year-old Penny Mae Cormani died of an apparent heroin overdose in a Provo home, photo location and date unspecified | Obituary photo from Wing Mortuary, St. George News

The child’s mother, 32-year-old Cassandra Leydsman Richards, reported feeding Penny and doing laundry as her daughter played in the downstairs front living room, according to court documents.

Richards then put Penny down for a nap upstairs around 11 a.m. with a bottle of about 3 oz. of vitamin D milk.

“Cassandra went to check on Penny at noon and found that she had purple or blue lips and was not responding,” according to the affidavits.

Richards told police she took Penny downstairs, attempted CPR and called 911. Paramedics arrived and transported the toddler to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo, where she was later pronounced dead.

“Tests returned from the autopsy indicated that Penny had a lethal amount of heroin and that codeine was also present,” the warrants stated.

The day before Penny’s death, the Belgard’s had allowed Penny’s father, 30-year-old Casey Joseph Cormani, as well as Richards and Penny, to stay in their Provo home, according to the warrants.

Both couples have drug-related criminal records, according to Utah Court documents.

During a search of the Belagard’s residence after Penny’s death, authorities found “numerous items of drug paraphernalia, including burnt foil with residue and straws with burnt ends and residue.

“Burnt foil with residue and burnt straws were found inside of the room that Cassandra and Casey stayed in,” the warrant read, “both on the ground and among Cassandra’s personal belongings. Burnt straws were also found in the living area downstairs on the carpet and on a coffee table.”

“Also found downstairs in the common area was a razor blade on an end table that had a white residue on one side,” police wrote. “All of the identified paraphernalia was seen in plain sight. Burnt foil was found in the trash can of the common and only bathroom in the apartment.”

According to the warrant, David Belgard told authorities he had seen Richards and Cormani using the straws to inhale their prescriptions.

Despite the evidence found by police, Penny’s parents denied any illicit drug use. They told detectives they “consume their medications orally as prescribed,” according to the affidavits, and that the drug paraphernalia found in the house belonged to the Belagard’s.

While no one has yet been arrested or charged in connection with the child’s death, warrants were served on both couples and investigators obtained samples of blood and hair follicles to be tested for drugs.

Other drug-related charges

According to court documents, on Dec. 4, two days after Penny’s death, Lehi Police responded to the scene of a reported drug overdose where Casey Cormani was present, according to charging documents.

When Casey Cormani’s sister went to pick him up at the scene, she refused to take him if he had any drugs on him. Cormani then pulled burned tin foil with “some black tar substance” from his pockets. Police also found syringes and heroin in his backpack and sock, according to a probable cause statement. Cormani told officers the items belonged to the overdose victim and that he took them so police wouldn’t discover them.

Joseph Cormani was charged in 4th District Court with third-degree felony possession or use of heroin, class B misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia, and class A misdemeanor obstructing justice.

On Dec. 5, Richards was charged with use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class B misdemeanor.

According to 43-year-old David Belgard’s warrant affidavit, he “has been arrested and/or convicted for charges including DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of heroin, amphetamine and marijuana, false information to police, resisting arrest and many other charges.”

Sina Belgard, 49, “has been arrested or convicted for charges including DUI, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of heroin and forged prescriptions,” according to another warrant affidavit.

Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.


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  • Brian January 6, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    What a bunch of sick a-holes! For punishment, can we just make the guilty party swallow handfuls of used syringes?

  • sagemoon January 6, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Dang junkies.

  • anybody home January 6, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    This darling baby was murdered in Utah. A lovely family state.

    • 42214 January 6, 2016 at 7:15 pm

      A lovely family state with extremely high rates of pornography and prescription drug abuse. Get your head out of your rear and deal with reality.

    • mesaman January 6, 2016 at 7:29 pm

      Your mind is really twisted. What was a kind and caring comment ended up like raw sewage. You had a chance to be noble and blew it.

      • 42214 January 6, 2016 at 8:36 pm

        Mesa, I think you blow many more things than I do. I merely pointed out the folly of a perception that Utah is some type unique utopia of family bliss and happiness. Facts and stats don’t bare that out. You are the poster child for living in denial and fantasy. Put on another pair of depends and finish your nap Nolan. you’re inconsequential.

        • mesaman January 7, 2016 at 2:21 pm

          I realize you have to drop your pants to be able to speak, odd numbers, but my response was to anybody home, not some arrogant, egotistical weirdo who uses fictional numbers for a log in name. Try to follow the little lines, wheazy one, you’ll see what I’m referring to. Try imitating a human, maybe some of it will rub off on you in the next 20 or 30 years, should you survive that long.

      • .... January 7, 2016 at 4:34 pm

        Mesaman. your mind isn’t twisted. can’t twist what you don’t have

  • 42214 January 6, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Here’s a good one for such a “Lovely family state”. BYU and Utah had to cancel their rivalry game because of extreme animosity and past antagonism for safety concerns. Now if thats not Ozzie and Harriet I don’t know what is. Anybody Home, change your name to The Light is On But Nobody is Home.

    • mesaman January 6, 2016 at 8:09 pm

      Wow, who gives a damn but you and the outcasts?

      • .... January 7, 2016 at 12:46 am

        Wow who cares what you think mesaman. take your Geritol and take a nap

  • ladybugavenger January 6, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Was it from exposure or did they give the baby heroin? It’s a valid question. Her short life doesn’t have to be in vain. There’s someone with a baby in their home using heroin right now. This could be you. Get help. There is help for addiction!!! RIP little baby girl Penny.

    • 42214 January 6, 2016 at 11:12 pm

      Nice thought but I doubt if anyone using heroin with a young baby in the home is reading and commenting on St George News, Y’all.

    • sagemoon January 7, 2016 at 8:29 am

      Good point, Ladybug.

  • 42214 January 6, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    OK Nolan, let’s be serious. Defend Anybody Home’s assertion that Utah is such a lovely family state in light of the fact that Utah ranks # 8 nationwide in prescription drug abuse deaths, ranks #1 in per capita video pornography subscriptions, and the Utah/BYU basketball game had to be cancelled because of hostility and ill will and “tensions” between the 2 mormon schools. So Nolan, tell me how Utah is such a lovely family state and any different from Alabama, Georgia, Rhode Island, etc etc. Can’t wait to hear an intelligent response other than Bite Me or if you don’t like it, move.

    • mesaman January 7, 2016 at 2:26 pm

      Wow, odd numbers, and your mother never thought you would be able to read; two, check that 2, statistics, which you neither understand nor can spell, and you have driven home your ridiculous, juvenile point. In fact, I don’t have to tell you nothing; you wouldn’t understand it, you would not be able to utilize it, and you would waste my time and your precious cognitive energy, which is minimal, at best. So in your spare time, pull up your pants, it’s not necessary to speak, and BITE ME.

      • 42214 January 8, 2016 at 6:03 pm

        Mesa, I see your Oedipus complex is coming back with your fixation on my mother. As usual, you answer nothing. Remind me of Hilary who avoids simple direct answers and lies. Mesaman aka Hildebeast.

  • .... January 6, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    This kind of stuff happens all the time in Mesa AZ

  • .... January 7, 2016 at 10:24 am

    The State motto for Arizona is. BITE ME !

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