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Utah toddler dies from suspected methadone overdose

Crime » Mother arrested after toddler dies and his two siblings are hospitalized.

First Published Feb 03 2014 09:52 am • Last Updated Feb 03 2014 10:53 pm

Tooele police have arrested a woman on suspicion of homicide after she allegedly — but inadvertently — served her 2-year-old son an overdose of methadone.

The 32-year-old woman called 911 Friday evening when the family discovered that the boy was not breathing. Emergency responders tried to save the boy, but he died at the home near 400 Oak St., said Tooele police Capt. Paul Wimmer.

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A few hours later, the boy’s 8-year-old brother and 5-year-old sister turned up at the emergency room having also ingested methadone, police say. Both survived.

The 8-year-old told his aunt, and the 5-year-old told a detective, that their mother fixed a pink drink for the 2-year-old, according to a probable cause statement. He did not like the drink so the mother had the 5-year-old taste it; she said it was gross, the statement adds. The mother then had the 8-year-old taste it, and he said it tasted like medicine, according to the statement.

Investigators suspect the drink was the mother’s colored, liquid methadone that was kept in a Gatorade bottle, Wimmer said.

"We think she may have inadvertently served it," Wimmer said.

The mother told investigators that after the taste tests, she realized that she had poured the methadone and not Gatorade into the cup, according to the probable cause statement. The mother said she tried to get the 2-year-old to throw up, then went to bed and took a nap with him, the statement adds.

"When asked, she said she didn’t call [emergency responders] or poison control because she was scared," according to the statement.

The mother was booked into the Tooele County jail, without bail, on suspicion of homicide, two counts of child abuse and endangerment of a child or vulnerable adult, according to jail documents.

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