Elizabeth Long, 34, is on trial, charged with second-degree murder and second-degree child abuse. Long claims she found her 16-month-old son, Lukas, unresponsive. She said she thought he had suffocated while napping on the couch.
Long, who has an extensive history of prescription drug misuse, had previous contact with Child Protective Services just two weeks prior regarding the safety of her children. Rory Ayotte, CPS Specialist, visited the home on January 14, 2015, after Long’s 8-year-old son called 911. He had been unable to wake his mother. Lukas was on the changing table. The father, Patrick Long, who has since divorced Elizabeth Long, was called to the home by police regarding the 911 call. Ayotte worked out a safety plan for the family and requested the family’s medical and education records.
On January 29, 2015, Ayotte was again called to the home, this time because of Lukas’ death. According to Ayotte, Long admitted to taking four-to-six Vicodin that morning. When Ayotte requested a drug screen, Long admitted to taking Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Xanax as well.
Dr. David Hindy, the Long’s family doctor, testified that he had long conversations with Elizabeth Long regarding her medications. Those conversations included the oxycodone and morphine that Long was receiving from a pain specialist for chronic back pain. According to records, in 2013, Long was in her third trimester of pregnancy with baby Lukas while taking Suboxone, a medication for opiate addiction. Ingrid Chua-Manalo, Long’s pain management doctor, testified that Long had admitted to her that she was taking her dog’s pain medications, as well as her mother-in-law’s Xanax.
Patrick Long cited that on the day of Lukas’ death, he found Elizabeth sleeping on the toilet at 2 a.m. He had tried to call home several times that day to check on her. Police then contacted him to come home regarding an emergency. As he was driving home, he finally got Elizabeth Long on the telephone and she told him that Lukas had suffocated.
During her interview with the Clay Township Police Department, which was played for the jury on Tuesday, Long described tearfully to police about finding her child dead. She said she told Lukas, “‘Don’t be dead,’ but he already was.” She then fell asleep in the interview room, snoring loudly for at least two hours, according to the video.
St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael West declined to acquit Long. Referring to Long’s history of prescription drug use and injuries.
“To whatever extent she is unable, or lacks the ability, to fully provide for her own safety then that directly affects the safety of her children,” West said.
Though Elizabeth Long testified she only gave Lukas a teaspoon of Benadryl in his bottle that morning, medical examiner Daniel Spitz testified that Lukas died from a benadryl overdose more than 10 times the adult dose, reports the Detroit Free Press. According to Spitz, Lukas had 710 nanograms per millimeter in his blood, stating 50 milligrams would be about 60 nanograms per milliliter. The child’s dose for Lukas, and what Long claimed she gave him, was 12.5 milligrams, concluding that she gave him 40 times the child’s dose.
Elizabeth Long’s defense attorney, James Fifelski, argued there was no intent to kill and that, “No reasonable juror could find my client guilty on one or both of these charges.” He further claimed that the prior incident with CPS was not an indicator that she would harm her children.
“When she ingests vast amounts of opiates in violation of her contract with her doctor, she puts herself in a position where she can’t function,” Senior Assistant Prosecutor Mona Armstrong said.
Elizabeth Long’s testimony will resume on Tuesday at 9 a.m.
[Featured image via Kheng Guan Toh/Shutterstock]