Two women indicted in child's death

October 16, 2005|By JUSTIN FENTON

A Harford County grand jury has indicted two Darlington women on charges stemming from an incident last year in which a 16-month-old child died after apparently ingesting methadone that was mistaken for juice, the state's attorney said in a news release.

Ashton Timothy Preston died of a methadone overdose in December when he drank from a Mickey Mouse cup filled with the drug. At the time, police said, the boy's mother, Kelly Jean Briggs, was taking methadone for a heroin addiction. Her housemate, Elaine Marie Butler, mistook the liquid for juice and gave it to the toddler, police said.

Methadone is a synthetic narcotic that is used to lessen withdrawal symptoms of heroin addicts. It can be administered as a clear liquid but is often colored pink, orange or red so that it can be easily seen.

Briggs and Butler have been charged with second-degree murder, intentional child abuse and distribution and possession of methadone. They were indicted in June on manslaughter and related charges.

The announcement of the new charges was delayed until both women were taken into custody, the release said.

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