Towanda Reaves (pictured) has been charged with second-degree murder and child abuse, after Baltimore authorities say she rubbed the drug methadone on the gums of her 17-month-old grandson to get him to fall asleep. The woman was also charged with assault, after police say she reportedly administered the same drug to her 20-month-old granddaughter as well, according to CBS Baltimore’s WJZ.
Police investigators said the children were under the care of Reaves on July 4th. According to the 50-year-old woman, she put the grandkids to bed at 8 p.m. and when she peeked in on them at 2 a.m., she found the boy to be unresponsive so she called paramedics.
When the emergency response workers arrived at Reaves’ apartment, they tried resuscitating the boy, Aadyn Overton, but were not successful. The children were transported to a nearby hospital and Overton was pronounced dead at 4:52 a.m.
A chief medical examiner listed methadone intoxication as the toddler’s cause of death.
Reportedly, Reaves denied giving the children the potent drug, claiming that they stumbled upon it on their own. After police delved further in to Reaves’ story, she wound up allegedly confessing that she had actually rubbed methadone — which is sometimes prescribed as a painkiller but typically used to wean addicts off drugs like heroin — on the children’s gum lines so that they would sleep.
The children’s father was asleep on the couch while Reaves attended to the toddlers.
The little girl, whose name has not been released, was given a toxicology test at the hospital and methadone was also found in her system. She was released a day later and expected to be fine.
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Neighbors, who know Reaves are shocked at the allegations, with some describing Reaves as a “doting grandmother.” One unidentified woman spoke to WJZ about Reaves stating, “She really took care of them. As far as I can see, she wasn’t a bad person.”
There are other neighbors, who are taken aback that a grandmother could have possibly performed such a reprehensible act on her own grandkids. “As a grandmother myself, I just can’t imagine it. I just can’t imagine,” an unnamed woman told WJZ.
Neighbors say that the young children were only visiting Reaves and did not live with her.