4-Year Old Boy Found In SUV With Couple Overdosed On Heroin Gets New Home

The four-year-old boy from Ohio who was strapped in the backseat of an SUV while his grandmother, Rhona Pasek, 50, and friend James Acord, 47, had passed out on heroin in the front seats, has found a new home in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, NY Daily News is reporting.

A great-aunt and great-uncle appealed to the court for custody of the boy and that request was granted on Monday. Pasek had only ben awarded custody of the boy six months earlier before she overdosed on heroin. Columbia County Juvenile Court administrator Dane Walton said Wednesday that there was no evidence that Ms. Pasek had any drug problems when she was granted custody of the four-year-old boy.

According to a CNN report, the photograph of the overdosed couple was circulated by the Ohio police department as part of an awareness initiative of the heroin epidemic that has engulfed Ohio. Service safety director, Brian Allen revealed the couple would have been dead if the police had not stepped in.

On September 7, the couple had been driving uncontrollably on the road before stopping behind a school bus. An Ohio police officer who was en route said he noticed Acord starting the car again and stopping in the middle of the road on a steep hill.

The officer had exited his vehicle to check on the occupants and found Acord with his head “bobbing back and forth” and muttering gibberish. The police officer, Kevin Thom said he managed to grasp that Acord was taking Pasek to a hospital before he lost consciousness. Paramedics had hurriedly administered Narcan, an opiate reversal agent on the two adult occupants. Pasek was already turning blue in the face.

Police administrators had discussed their concerns over the child before releasing the photograph, that was taken as officers waited for an ambulance to arrive, but felt that the benefits of raising awareness about the drug scourge outweighed the disadvantages that would emerge. Police Chief John Lane said the release of the picture was to get the child out of the negative environment he was being raised.

“It’ll get him the help that he needs, get him out of that environment and get him where he needs to be, in a safe environment, in a loving environment.”

The East Liverpool city Facebook page where the haunting images of the overdosed couple and the blonde child were first seen, acknowledged the controversy that the picture would generate, but stated that in a city where 23 people were dying from heroin use every week, they needed to do something different.

“We are well aware that some may be offended by these images and for that we are truly sorry, but it is time that the non drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis.”

The city’s position on a drastic measure needed to be implemented and they were willing to pay the price for it.

“The poison known as heroin has taken a strong grip on many communities not just ours. The difference is we are willing to fight this problem until it’s gone and if that means we offend a few people along the way, we are prepared to deal with that.”

But while the actions of the police have been commended, the family of the little boy is not happy at the publicity that has followed the child. Pasek’s sister, who lives in Delaware and has custody of the four-year-old’s little brother, slammed the Ohio police for not blurring the face of the child and humiliating him publicly.

Acord pleaded no contest to driving a vehicle under impairment and endangering a minor. He was fined $475, sentenced to 180 days in jail, and had his driver’s license suspended for three years. Pasek pleaded not guilty to public intoxication, child disorderly conduct, and endangering a child. She is presently being held on a $150,000 bond.

[Featured Image by FotoMaximum/Thinkstock]