A Pulaski woman is in custody on a charge of felony child neglect after her three-year-old child ingested liquid methadone allegedly left unsecured in a kitchen.
According to Pulaski Police Chief Gary Roche, Melissa J. Southern, 22, is being held without bond in New River Valley Regional Jail. She was arrested Thursday evening.
According to a police department press release, Southern’s son was taken to the Pulaski Community Hospital emergency room almost three hours after he ingested the drug, most commonly used to wean people off of drug addictions.
Police said the medical staff was informed that the child “had possibly ingested an unknown quantity of liquid Methadone.” A test confirmed the presence of the drug in the child’s system, so he was admitted to the hospital overnight. The child was placed into the custody of Pulaski Department of Social Services immediately upon being discharged from the hospital Wednesday.
According to police, an investigation determined the mother was aware the child took the methadone around noon Tuesday, but she delayed seeking medical treatment until around 3 p.m. Furthermore, authorities contend the child was able to consume the drug because it was left unsecured.
The name of the child is being withheld due to his age.
Another Pulaski woman was convicted July 2 of felony child neglect and second degree murder in the death of her two-year-old son, who died under similar circumstances.
A jury recommended Lisa Michelle Hylton serve 20 years in prison for the September 2009 death of Trevor Kane Hylton. In that case, prosecutors said Trevor ingested liquid methadone left unsecured in the kitchen.
Despite being aware the child had taken the drug, Lisa Hylton waited 11 hours before calling for medical assistance. By that time, it was too late for medical staff to save him.