Child abuse and endangerment can take many forms, as evidenced by a recent case making headlines out of Tacoma, Washington. According to the Washington Post a couple injected their three children with heroin over an extended period of time and engaged in other behaviors that led authorities to remove the boy and two girls from the home in November 2015. The two parents each fact three counts of unlawful delivery of a drug to a minor, as well as criminal mistreatment and assault of a child; there are also multiple charges for drug crimes, including possession of a controlled substance. If convicted, the pair could face decades in prison for the crimes.
Child Protective Services Investigation
Child Protective Services began their investigation into the couple in May 2015, after allegations surfaced about mistreatment of the children, a six-year-old boy, and his four- and two-year old sisters. On November 10, 2015, authorities entered the family’s residence to find the couple, their three children, and numerous other adults living in deplorable conditions. Officials captured photos of people using drugs, needles strewn about the home, and drug paraphernalia throughout the house. There were also rat droppings on the floor.
CPS immediately removed the children from the situation of abuse and neglect, and continued their investigation to find that the children exhibited tell-tale marks on their arms: Authorities believe the cuts and bruises were caused by injections.
The Boy Speaks
The hunch of CPS workers about the marks on the children may be a major issue in court, as the oldest child made a statement to agents after being removed from the home. He said that his parents mixed white powder and water to make “feel good medicine,” a term used by his mother and father. The adults would inject all three children, according to the boy, and they would fall asleep shortly thereafter. Tests conducted by officials show that the two youngest girls had heroin in their system, though the boy had no traces in his body.
Defenses Raised by the Parents
The parents of the three children deny the charges, stating that a babysitter or other adult residing in the home was likely responsible. Authorities pursued their investigation and finally arrested the couple in September 2016; both remain in custody on $100,000 bond. Plus, the judge in the case issued a restraining order that prevents the parents from contacting their children or being within a certain distance of their residences and schools. A trial for the woman is scheduled to begin in December and the man will be tried starting in February 2017.
Drug Offenses in San Diego
California is cracking down on the drug crimes of possession, manufacturing, and trafficking, especially in cases involving children as victims. While the criminal penalties for marijuana are less harsh, crimes related to other controlled substances are punished severely. If you’re facing charges for any type of drug crime, it’s critical to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney who can represent your interests in court. Please contact a knowledgeable criminal attorney in San Diego to discuss your case and potential defenses to the charges.
Ozols Law Firm
8880 Rio San Diego Dr. #22
San Diego, CA