A Belington couple who allegedly fed methadone to their 23-month-old child on multiple occasions was arrested Tuesday for causing her death.
Ida Lee Evans, 31, of 99 Hatfield Dr., and David Lee DeLauder, 37, also of 99 Hatfield Dr., were each charged with death of a child by parent, a felony, in Barbour County Magistrate Court, Magistrate Kathi McBee said Tuesday.
According to criminal complaints in the Barbour County Magistrate Clerk's office, on March 13, Cpl. A.S. Loudin with the West Virginia State Police Crimes Against Children unit was dispatched to Davis Memorial Hospital, where the couple's child was taken after she died. Loudin, the investigating officer, reported observing no "apparent" injuries to the child's deceased body, the complaint states.
At the time, Evans reportedly told Loudin that she and the 23-month-old child had taken a nap together in her bed, but when she woke up, her child was not breathing. Evans said she was unable to reach the child's father, DeLauder, and so called his parents.
However, on March 19, Loudin received a preliminary toxicology report from the West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner which indicated that methadone, a Schedule II controlled substance, was present in the child's blood and could have contributed to her death.
Loudin then conducted a March 21 interview with Evans and DeLauder in which they disclosed that neither of them had a valid prescription for methadone, but had instead purchased it "from a second party person in Philippi," the complaint states.
"Both advised they got high on pills and went to sleep in the same bed as the victim," Loudin reported in the complaint. "Both individuals advised the other had methadone in their pocket."
But on April 8, the story changed again when, at DeLauder's request, Loudin interviewed him separately. During the interview DeLauder, the child's father, allegedly told Loudin that on the night before the toddler died- March 12-he and Evans ingested methadone and hydrocodone he had purchased on the street. DeLauder said he saw Evans crushing up a white methadone pill with her lighter. Evans allegedly told DeLauder that she was going to give it to the child "because it might put her to sleep or make her hyper," the complaint states.
DeLauder said he told Evans not to give the child the crushed-up pill and then walked into the bathroom.
An hour later, when DeLauder asked Evans what she'd done with the methadone pill, Evans allegedly replied, "I gave the baby a little something to sleep," according to the report.
"Mr. DeLauder advised a fight ensued for about an hour over (Evans) giving the pill to the baby," Loudin wrote. "Mr. DeLauder made no attempt to call EMS or get the victim medically checked for the methadone ingestion."
On May 1, Loudin received a copy of the child's death certificate, which indicated that the child had died from methadone intoxication. A toxicology report revealed the presence of traces of methadone in the child's hair. Those traces mean that the child had ingested methadone prior to the March 12 incident - perhaps on several different occasions - Loudin wrote in the report.
" This (presence of methadone traces in the hair) indicates the victim has been administered methadone in the past and this was not a one-time incident," Loudin wrote. Methadone was also present in the child's blood, urine and gastrointestinal system, the complaint states.
Evans and DeLauder were charged under different subsections of the crime "death of a child by parent."
Evans was charged under 61-8D-2a(a), which means she allegedly "maliciously and intentionally cause(d) impairment of the said child's physical condition by other than accidental means," which caused the child's death, according to state code.
DeLauder was charged under 61-8D-2a(b), which means he is accused of "knowingly allow(ing) another person to maliciously and intentionally cause impairment of the child's condition by other than accidental means," which resulted in the child's death.
If each is convicted, the penalty for Evans and DeLauder will be the same - incarceration for 10 to 40 years in the state penitentiary.
McBee set bond at $100,000 cash only for DeLauder and Evans; they remained in the Tygart Valley Regional Jail as of presstime.
Contact Katie Kuba by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.