Baltimore, MD — A Baltimore grandmother has been charged with murder after she killed her grandson by rubbing methadone on his gums to make him sleep. Instead, the 17-month-old died from a lethal overdose.
The child and his sister were spending the Fourth of July with their grandmother, 50-year-old Towanda Reaves, who lives in the Franklintown neighborhood. Police initially believed the toddler’s death was an accident, but Reaves admitted to giving them the narcotic.
“She confirmed that she had given methadone to the children and put it on the gum lines of their mouths,” said Baltimore Police spokesperson Det. Jeremy Silbert.
Reaves told police officers that she put her grandchildren to bed at 8 pm, and checked on them at 2 am to turn off the air conditioning in the room. She realized her grandson wasn’t breathing and called paramedics, who were unable to revive the boy. He was pronounced dead at Sinai Hospital on July 5.
A toxicology report performed on the granddaughter indicated that she had methadone in her bloodstream. Detectives said that Reaves gave an empty bottle of the narcotic to medical staff and admitted that she had rubbed it on the children’s gums. The chief medical examiner then listed the boy’s cause of death as methadone intoxication. The girl was later released from the hospital and is expected to be okay.
Methadone is given to addicts to help them detox from drugs like heroin and morphine. It can also be prescribed as a painkiller.
Reaves was arrested on August 1, and has been charged with assault, child abuse causing serious injury, child abuse resulting in death, reckless endangerment, and second-degree murder.
Neighbors called Reaves a doting and attentive grandmother, and couldn’t believe that she had given the children methadone on purpose. They believed the children had been exposed by accident.
“She really took care of them,” one woman said. “As far as I can see, she wasn’t a bad person.”
What do you think of the grandmother rubbing methadone on her grandchildren’s gums?