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Courtesy of Tooele County Booking

Mother arrested after overdose of child, police say

By Celeste Tholen Rosenlof | Posted - Feb 3rd, 2014 @ 8:00pm


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TOOELE — A 2-year-old boy is dead after a mother put methadone in a sippy cup he shared with two other siblings, police said.

Friday around 6:45 p.m., Tooele police were called to a home on reports of an unresponsive toddler. Police and emergency personnel responded, unsuccessfully attempting to resuscitate the boy. He was pronounced dead on the scene.

“There was no obvious sign to indicate what the cause of death was,” said Capt. Paul Wimmer with the Tooele City Police Department.

Police launched an investigation into the boy’s death at that time and the body was turned over to the medical examiner.

Hours later, around 1 a.m. Saturday, police were dispatched to the Mountain West Medical Center emergency room where the toddler’s 8-year-old brother was admitted. The boy had broken out in a rash and his eyes were swollen, according to a probable cause statement.

What is methadone?
  • Classified as an opiate (narcotic) analgesics.
  • Used to relieve moderate to severe pain that has not been relieved by non-narcotic pain relievers.
  • Used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in patients who were addicted to opiate drugs and are enrolled in treatment programs in order to stop taking or continue not taking the drugs.
Information: National Institutes of Health

Doctors discovered methadone in the 8-year-old’s urine. A 5-year-old sister was also brought in at that time to be tested. Doctors found the same substance in her system.

“The children had told us there was a sippy cup passed around between the three of them that mom had prepared for them and it didn’t taste right,” Wimmer said.

The toddler passed it to the 5-year-old to taste, who passed it to the 8-year-old, an affidavit said.

In an interview with the children’s mother, Jill Goff, Wimmer said she told them she had inadvertently poured liquid methadone she kept in a Gatorade bottle into their sippy cup around 4 p.m.

A probable cause statement said Goff told investigators that when she realized she had poured methadone into the boy’s cup, she had the toddler throw up before giving him a bath and laying him down to take a nap. She told police she didn’t call emergency services or poison control because she was scared.

Police were called when a 14-year-old sibling went to wake the 2-year-old and he wasn’t breathing.

“While we don’t have any evidence that suggests that she was trying to harm the children with it, there is a certain level of care that is required with such a dangerous substance and medication,” Wimmer said.

Police believe the methadone was obtained legally, but were unclear about why she was storing it in liquid form.

She was arrested and booked into the Tooele County Jail on suspicion of reckless endangerment involving the death of a child and child abuse.

The four remaining children, including an 11-year-old who was with grandparents Friday evening, have been placed with family members, Wimmer said.

Contributing: Peter Samore

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Celeste Tholen Rosenlof

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