Ohio Babysitter Charged With Murder After 8-Month-Old Dies From Benadryl Overdose

An Ohio babysitter has been charged with murder after she administered a fatal dose of allergy medication Benadryl to a baby in her care, according to the Reynoldsburg Police Department.

Katie Mukley left her 8-month-old son, Haddix Mulkey, in the care of Lori Conley, a woman who authorities described as an unlicensed childcare provider, on May 13 of this year. According to ABC News, Conley was babysitting seven other children that day, and when little Haddix would not go to sleep, Conley administered him a dose of Benadryl, which later proved to be lethal.

Some time later during the day, police officers at the Reynoldsburg Police Department received a call about an unresponsive child, and although first responders attempted to revive Haddix en route to the hospital, the young child was pronounced dead on arrival.

But while the incident took place more than three weeks ago, it was only on Friday that the coroner’s office released a toxicology report, confirming that the baby had died from Benadryl overdose. The child’s mother, who admitted that she was “in the dark” about what happened to Haddix until the report came in, expressed her “shock” at having learned about the reason.

“I was in complete shock. He was just learning to crawl.”

“I entrusted her to take care of my son Haddix and my daughter while I worked to provide for my family.”

“I just really want justice for my baby. I’ll have to see my baby in a cemetery, not in my arms.”

Benadryl

Lieutenant Ron Wright of the Reynoldsburg Police Department told WBNS-10TV that officers, as well as doctors, were completely stumped when they realized that a healthy baby had suddenly died for no apparent reason. But when they came to know about what exactly had led to his death, they confronted Conley about it, and the babysitter admitted that she had administered adult size dosages to the young child to try to make him go to sleep.

“She told us it was Benadryl to try to get the baby to go to sleep,” he said. “She was very vague on exactly how much, but she did give adult size dosages — the pills that are adult size dosages.”

A dosing guide on Benadryl’s website recommends that children under the age of two must not be administered any version of the drug, while its adult version can only be given to children over six years of age.

Although not a licensed childcare provider, Lori Conley babysat to provide for three teenage children of her own.

Conley was arraigned Saturday in Franklin County Municipal Court and her bond was set at $750,000, and even if she manages to meet the bond, she will have to stay away from children.

The child’s mother said that she will attend Conley’s trial in order to “bring closure” to Haddix’s death, adding that his untimely demise should serve as a reminder to parents to be careful about whom they trust their child with.

“I was never aware that my son was drugged. I didn’t condone it. I didn’t ask for this,” she said.

Although Haddix’s passing away is certainly a rare incident, this is not the first time that a child has died under similar circumstances. In 2001, babysitter Paula Burcham, 53, mixed a dose of a liquid generic form of Benadryl into the formula of 3-and-a-half-month-old infant Grace Fields, leading to the kid’s death.

[Image via Reynoldsburg Police Department]