Autopsy inconclusive on death of toddler who ingested rat poison

-mother released on station bail

An autopsy performed on the remains of the one-year-old child who died last Wednesday after he reportedly consumed rat poison while in the care of a young relative at La Grange, West Bank Demerara, was inconclusive.

A police source yesterday told Sunday Stabroek that following the inconclusive autopsy, which was conducted on Friday by Government Pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh, contents were collected from the toddler’s stomach for testing so as to determine how he met his demise.

The child’s mother, who was arrested following his death, was released on station bail on Friday afternoon pending a further investigation.

This newspaper had previously reported that the child succumbed at the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPH), where he was rushed by his mother after she was alerted to him having ingested a carbon tablet.

Head of the Childcare and Protection Agency, Ann Greene, previously related to this newspaper that from preliminary investigations, the agency learnt that the toddler’s relative was sent by the mother to purchase the rat poison from a neighbourhood shop. It was claimed that the shop owner did not sell the tablet to the relative but gave it to him.

Upon returning home, Greene had said, the relative left the tablet and went to fix a bottle for the one-year-old. It was around this time that the toddler reportedly grabbed the carbon tablet and consumed it.

After being informed of what happened, the mother reportedly rushed to the toddler’s aid and quickly took him to the GPH, where he succumbed.

‘More responsible’

However, Greene yesterday told Sunday Stabroek that based on an interview that was conducted with the relative, he obtained the rat poison on his own initiative after the toddler’s parents had a quarrel about the vermin.

Greene said she believes the dead child’s mother and shop keeper who gave the toddler’s relative the poison should face charges. “…She (the shop keeper) saying she gave, she didn’t sell, but to sell or to give rat poison to a [child] to take home—come on, you got to be more responsible than that,” she stressed.

She noted that under the Child Protection Act, the shop keeper endangered two lives at least. “She (the shop keeper) endangered two persons; one is dead now and this one here (the relative), his life is ruined, we got to help him deal with it… you know we trying to save him now. He has got to get psychological evaluation, he got to be screened. He is very traumatised from how the mother behaved after the child died,” she said.

The shop owner had also been taken into custody after the child’s death but was subsequently released on station bail. 

As it relates to the mother, Greene said that she could face neglect charges.

The relative, Greene said, only recently started living with the family at La Grange.  “And the reports from the investigation we are getting is that he [the relative] would stay and look at the child… so it means that he was left to care for this child,” she said, while noting that at his young age he should not have such a responsibility.

He will remain in the care of the agency until the investigation is completed. He is traumatised, she also noted.

Greene said eventually when he is released from the agency, he might return to the care of his grandmother.  

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