Two alleged drug dealers have now been charged with murder in connection with the August 2023 death of 18-month-old Winter Rayo, whose parents were also charged with murder.

In November, 27-year-old Derek Vaughn Rayo and 28-year-old Kelly Gene Richardson of San Jose became the second set of parents in the Bay Area to be charged with the murder of their child due to a fentanyl overdose. Now, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office has announced that two more individuals have been charged in the toddler's death, 31-year-old Phillip Ortega of Gilroy, and 32-year-old Paige Vitale of San Jose.

Both Ortega and Vitale were scheduled to be arraigned today on murder charges.

The DA's office says that Rayo and Richardson were provided "with a steady supply of opioids" by Ortega and Vitale, who investigators say "shared the drugs, while the baby girl wandered inside the drug-littered San Jose residence."

Prosecutors add that "Evidence shows that the babysitting dealers left opioids and dirty drug paraphernalia in the open around the house where the baby could find them."

As the Mercury News reports, Ortega and Vitale were the housemates of Rayo and Richardson, in addition to being drug suppliers.

"Paige Vitale and Phillip Ortega knew that fentanyl and methamphetamine were dangerous to human life,” writes Investigator Sheena Woodland in a probable cause affidavit. "Despite this knowledge, they affirmatively took actions which would naturally and probably result in [the child's] exposure to fentanyl and methamphetamine."

The investigation produced text-message evidence of the two couples discussing drugs, telling each other they had left them "on the table" or "on the washer." In one message, per the Mercury News, Ortega told Richardson that he had left a bong, presumably for use in smoking meth or fentanyl, "in a bag hanging on [Winter’s] stroller."

San Jose police were called to a home on the 1500 block of Huddersfield Court in the city's Willow Glen neighborhood on August 12, 2023, on a report of a child who was unconscious and not breathing. The child was pronounced dead at the scene, and was later found to have 15 times the lethal amount of fentanyl in her system.

Rayo and Richardson allegedly waited 12 hours to call 911.

Rayo and Richardson were charged with murder three months later, and evidence showed that Ortega and Vitale "consistently supplied Rayo and Richardson with fentanyl and methamphetamine," including "photographs and videos showing all four of the suspects using drugs in the same room as the child," prosecutors say.

"The fatal irresponsibility of the people around Baby Winter is shocking – and it is criminal," says District Attorney Jeff Rosen in a statement. "We will hold accountable anyone whose recklessness ended the life of that poor little girl."

These are the second murder charges to be leveled against two parents in such a case in the Bay Area,  in connection with a child's death due to fentanyl exposure.

A Santa Rosa couple, 27-year-old Evan Frostick and 24-year-old Madison Bernard, was set to stand trial in January for the 2022 murder of their 15-month-old daughter, but that trial appears to be delayed.

In January 2022, a 29-year-old Santa Rosa woman pleaded guilty to charges that she procured fentanyl in San Francisco and sold it to a 29-year-old man who later overdosed, and exposure to the drug also killed the man's 13-month-old son.

If anyone has information about the death of Winter Rayo, they are asked to contact San Jose Police Investigator Sheena Woodland at (408) 792-2334.

Previously: San Jose Couple Charged In Toddler's Fentanyl Death

Photo of Winter Rayo via Facebook