Girl, 5, Dies of Cough Medicine Overdose
Tragic news from Colorado, as a 5-year-old girl died due to a cough medicine overdose. Local authorities are investigating her grandmother, who was looking after her at the time.
Kimber Michelle Brown, the child, was being treated for flu-like symptoms by Linda Sheets, her 59-year-old grandmother. The coroner's report revealed Kimber's overdose was accidental. Her blood had toxic levels of dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in cough syrup. She also had high levels of cetirizine, the main ingredient used in allergy medication Zyrtec.
Medical examiners believe the combination of drugs caused her death. But investigators aren't finished looking into Sheets.
Authorities aren't sure whether the grandmother gave the child too much medicine or if Kimber took the drugs on her own.
Colorado law imposes stiff penalties for causing a child's death through neglect or abuse. The offense may be charged as a felony with differing sentences depending on the defendant's intent.
For instance, a person who negligently allows or places a child in a life-threatening situation in which the child dies is guilty of a class 3 felony. A conviction can result in up to 12 years in prison. If the person knowingly does the same act, it can be charged as a class 2 felony, which carries up 24 years imprisonment.
It's unclear how Kimber got the fatal dose. But since Sheets was responsible for looking after her granddaughter when she died, the possibility for criminal liability exists.
There's no word yet if authorities will charge Sheets for Kimber's death. The investigation behind the little girl's cough medicine overdose is ongoing.
- 5-Year-Old Colorado Girl Dies of Cough Medicine Overdose (ABC News)
- Colorado Child Abuse Law (FindLaw)
- Child Abuse Penalties and Sentencing (FindLaw)