A Pennsylvania mom killed her 2-year-old by putting a prescription painkiller in his sippy cup, authorities said.
Jennifer A. Clarey, 42, was charged Tuesday with criminal homicide in the death of Mazikeen Curtis, who was found dead on Aug. 25 by police during a wellness check. The boy was found lying on a bed inside Clarey’s Tullytown home and she was found with apparently self-inflicted wounds to her wrist, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub announced.
It was initially unclear how the boy died after an autopsy found no obvious signs of trauma on his body, but a medical examiner said the child’s brain appeared “swollen and dusky,” possibly indicating an overdose, according to a probable cause affidavit.
A toxicology report later found toxic levels of hydrocodone, a narcotic commonly found in Vicodin, and diphenhydramine, a key ingredient in Benadryl, in the boy’s blood, the affidavit states.
“It goes beyond a terrible tragedy,” Weintraub told reporters. “This was clearly a murderous act.”
Police found an empty bottle of Benadryl in Clarey’s home, as well as an empty bottle for 120 Vicodin pills, which had been prescribed to Clarey a week earlier. The empty prescription pill bottle had been locked away in a strongbox, Weintraub said.
Both bottles were equipped with childproof caps and the boy’s medical history indicated no need for painkillers.
“In fact, it’s incredibly rare, if ever, that Vicodin — an opioid painkiller — would be prescribed for a 2-year-old,” Weintraub said. “Plain and simple, this was a murder, and the weapon was the pills that came from this bottle.”
Weintraub did not speculate as to why Clarey killed her son, aside from that the boy’s life was taken “with malice,” he said.
“And whether it was premeditated or not, that will be determined at trial,” he said.
A judge denied Clarey bail following her arraignment Tuesday. She remains in custody at the Bucks County Correctional Facility.
The boy’s former babysitter, meanwhile, said Mazikeen was “just an innocent” boy.
“That’s all I keep thinking about it how innocent he was,” Crystal Shreck told the Bucks County Courier Times. “No one deserves to be brought into a world like this.”