Coatesville Couple Charged in Death of Child from Drug Exposure

Holly Back and Mousa HawaHolly Back and Mousa Hawa /Submitted Image

COATESVILLE, PA — The Chester County District Attorney’s Office announced the arrest of Holly Back, 40, and Mousa Hawa, 41, for their alleged involvement in the death of an 8-year-old child due to illegal drug exposure. Hawa, the child’s biological father, and Back were apprehended by Chester County Detectives.

Both defendants face charges including Murder of the Third Degree and Involuntary Manslaughter. Magisterial District Judge Gregory Hines arraigned Back on Monday, setting her bail at $1 million. Hawa is scheduled to be arraigned today. A preliminary hearing is set for June 12, 2024.

District Attorney Christopher L. de Barrena-Sarobe stated, “Parents have a sacred responsibility to care for their children. Day after day, these defendants prioritized easy access to drugs over the health and safety of their child, leaving deadly fentanyl within arm’s reach. It is inexcusable. And it is murder.”

According to criminal complaints filed by Chester County Detectives, the City of Coatesville Police responded to a 911 call on July 26, 2023, for a child in cardiac arrest at a residence on East Lincoln Highway. Officers arrived to find Hawa performing CPR on the child. They observed that the child had ashen skin and cyanosis around his mouth and ears. The room was strewn with crystalline baggies and medication bottles.

The child was transported to Chester County Hospital but was pronounced dead upon arrival. An investigation revealed that the residence was filled with drug paraphernalia, including empty heroin bags and a shoebox containing hundreds of small bags with blue fentanyl/heroin residue. Messages on the defendants’ cellphones from the previous day discussed drug use.

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Hawa told investigators that the child knew not to touch the drugs, which were referred to as “medicine.” Toxicology reports showed the child had cocaine and fentanyl in his blood and urine, with hair samples indicating prior fentanyl exposure.

The Chester County Detectives are leading the investigation, supported by the City of Coatesville Police Department. First Assistant District Attorney Erin O’Brien is the assigned prosecutor.

All charges against Back and Hawa are allegations. They are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Further details may emerge as the case progresses.

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