Natalie Sabie is a 35-year-old woman from Lacey, New Jersey, who was convicted of aggravated manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the death of her toddler son, who died from an overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison on September 8, 2023, by Superior Court Judge Guy P. Ryan at the Ocean County Courthouse in Toms River.
|Natalie M. Sabie
|35 years old
|Carl Henderson Jr.
|Three (one deceased)
|10 years in prison
The Death of Her Son
The tragic incident that led to Sabie’s arrest and conviction occurred on September 7, 2023, when she called 911 to report that her two-year-old son was unresponsive in her home. Lacey police officers and paramedics arrived at the scene and tried to revive the child, but he was pronounced dead at Community Medical Center in Toms River.
According to an affidavit, detectives found blankets with Halloween and animal motifs and characters from a children’s television show on a couch in a bedroom that was also littered with syringes and wax folds containing residue of fentanyl and xylazine, a veterinary tranquilizer not approved for human use and linked to overdose deaths. A forensic pathologist determined that the boy died of acute fentanyl intoxication.
Sabie had two other children, who were 1 and 12 at the time of the incident, according to a court document. Both were in the home when the two-year-old died.
The Guilty Plea and the Sentencing
Sabie pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child on July 13, 2023, as part of a plea deal with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. She admitted that she was responsible for her son’s death by exposing him to fentanyl in her home.
On September 8, 2023, Sabie appeared before Superior Court Judge Guy P. Ryan for her sentencing. She faced a maximum of 30 years in prison for the manslaughter charge and 10 years for the endangerment charge. Prosecutors recommended a 10-year sentence for the manslaughter charge and a five-year sentence for the endangerment charge, which would run consecutively. She would have to serve 85% of the manslaughter sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
Sabie spoke to the court during her sentencing, expressing remorse and sorrow for her son’s death. She said that she loved him and that she wished she could take back what happened. She also apologized to her family, friends, and the community for her actions.
Judge Ryan said that he was moved by Sabie’s words, but that he had to impose a sentence that reflected the gravity of her crime. He said that Sabie had failed as a mother and as a human being by exposing her son to a deadly substance. He said that he hoped that Sabie would use her time in prison to rehabilitate herself and become a better person.
Sabie’s husband, Carl Henderson Jr., also spoke during the sentencing, asking for leniency for his wife. He said that Sabie was a good mother who made a terrible mistake. He said that he loved her and that he wanted to be with her again. He also said that he missed his son and that he wished he could have saved him.
- Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is used to treat severe pain, such as cancer pain or post-surgery pain. It is also sold illegally as a recreational drug or mixed with other drugs such as heroin or cocaine. It is extremely potent and can cause respiratory depression, coma, or death if taken in high doses or by people who are not tolerant to opioids.
- Xylazine is a drug that is used as a sedative and analgesic for animals such as horses or cattle. It is not approved for human use and can cause serious side effects such as low blood pressure, slow heart rate, respiratory depression, or death if taken by humans or mixed with other drugs such as opioids or cocaine.
- Lacey is a township in Ocean County, New Jersey, with a population of about 28,000. It is located near the Jersey Shore and is known for its parks, lakes, and wildlife. It is also home to the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, the oldest operating nuclear power plant in the United States.
- Aggravated manslaughter is a crime in New Jersey that involves causing the death of another person recklessly under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life. It is a first-degree crime that carries a sentence of 10 to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000.
- Endangering the welfare of a child is a crime in New Jersey that involves abusing, neglecting, or harming a child under the age of 18, or allowing or failing to prevent such abuse, neglect, or harm. It can be a second-degree or a third-degree crime depending on the severity of the harm and the intent of the offender. It carries a sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000 for a second-degree crime, or 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 for a third-degree crime.
- Superior Court is the trial court of general jurisdiction in New Jersey. It has three divisions: Civil, Criminal, and Family. It also has an Appellate Division that hears appeals from the trial courts and some administrative agencies. Superior Court judges are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate for an initial term of seven years, after which they can be reappointed for tenure until they reach the mandatory retirement age of 70.
- Ocean County is a county in New Jersey with a population of about 600,000. It is located along the Atlantic Ocean and is part of the New York metropolitan area. It is known for its beaches, boardwalks, and tourism. It is also home to several state parks and wildlife refuges. Its county seat is Toms River.
- Toms River is a township in Ocean County, New Jersey, with a population of about 92,000. It is located along the Toms River, which flows into Barnegat Bay. It is known for its downtown area, its schools, and its sports teams. It is also home to several historical sites and museums. It was severely affected by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
- Community Medical Center is a hospital in Toms River, New Jersey, that provides various health care services such as emergency care, surgery, cancer care, maternity care, pediatrics, and rehabilitation. It is part of the RWJBarnabas Health system and has over 600 beds and over 2,400 staff members.
- Forensic pathology is a branch of medicine that deals with the examination of dead bodies to determine the cause and manner of death. Forensic pathologists are doctors who specialize in performing autopsies and analyzing evidence such as wounds, injuries, toxins, or diseases. They also testify as expert witnesses in court cases involving homicides, suicides, accidents, or natural deaths.
- Plea deal or plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant and a prosecutor in which the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge or to one of several charges in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor such as a reduced sentence or a dismissal of other charges. Plea deals are used to avoid the uncertainty and cost of a trial and to ensure a conviction for the prosecution.
- Parole is a conditional release from prison that allows an inmate to serve the remainder of their sentence in the community under supervision and with certain restrictions such as reporting to a parole officer, obeying curfews, or attending counseling. Parole can be granted by a parole board or by law after serving a certain percentage of the sentence. Parole can be revoked if the parolee violates any of the conditions or commits another crime.