A 2-year-old Bessemer boy is dead after authorities say he drank grape soda laced with methadone.
The ordeal began Friday night when Demonie Hendon was in the care of a babysitter. Bessemer police said 31-year-old Cassie Townsend had methadone in a soda bottle and realized it wasn't where she had left it. She immediately guessed the toddler must have picked up the bottle and went to find him.
When she found him, she could tell he was sick. Townsend took Demonie to UAB West hospital, and then left with him again. They went to another home, and then to Children's Hospital. He was unresponsive when they arrived there, said Bessemer police Sgt. Charlie Burton, and put on life support.
Townsend, of Birmingham, was keeping Demonie at a home in the 2300 block of Fifth Avenue North. Burton said police were notified of the incident about 1 a.m. Saturday. Methadone is an opioid medication that reduces withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to heroin or other narcotic drugs without causing the "high" associated with the drug addiction. It is dispensed at a clinic, and police said it is not supposed to leave there.
Townsend was initially charged with chemical endangerment of a child. She was booked into the Jefferson County Jail Saturday, jail records show, and released Monday after posting $30,000 bond.
Jefferson County Chief Deputy Coroner Bill Yates said Demonie was pronounced dead at Children's at 1:26 p.m. He said it would be a couple of weeks before toxicology tests results are in to confirm whether it was methadone in Townsend's soda.
Bessemer police this morning upgraded the charges against Townsend to chemical endangerment exposure to a child resulting in death. She was taken into custody on the new charge at 5:08 p.m. She is in the county jail with bond set at $60,000.
Demonie would have turned three on Saturday. Efforts to reach his family for comment weren't immediately successful.
The investigation is ongoing. "It's horrible,'' Burton said.
By Carol Robinson - AP/March 11, 2015
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.