Mom Accused of Giving Toddler Son Deadly Dose of Benadryl Napped During Police Interview
A Michigan mother cried before falling asleep for two hours in a police interview room after she recounted how she found her toddler dead from an overdose of the active ingredient in Benadryl.
Elizabeth Long’s sobs and snores, recorded at the Clay Township Police Department, were played Tuesday for a jury that will decide if the 34-year-old mother is responsible for the death of her son Lukas, the Detroit Free Press wrote.
Little Lukas Long was found dead January 29, 2015 at his Vernier Lane home, after climbing onto the couch to take a nap he never woke from, prosecutors said.
His mother reportedly told investigators that she gave her son some Benadryl in his bottle that morning, and that he went on to play and watch television before laying down for a nap.
But lab results revealed Lukas had at least ten times the amount of diphenhydramine—the active ingredient in the medication— in his system than a normal dose would produce.
Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz testified that the diphenhydramine levels Lukas had in his blood measured at 710 nanograms per milliliter, while an adult dose of about 50 milligrams of Benadryl would measure at about 60 nanograms per milliliter, the Free Press reported.
“Is this consistent with a therapeutic amount of Benadryl, even a teaspoon of Benadryl, given that morning?” Senior Assistant Prosecutor Mona Armstrong asked Spitz.
“No, not even close,” he replied.
The manner of death was indeterminate since he could not rule out accident or homicide.
Lukas’ father, Patrick Long, testified that his ex-wife claimed to be having sleepwalking episodes that escalated in January 2015 and made for a “tense” home environment in the weeks before the boy’s death.
He reportedly spoke of incidents where the couple’s daughter and other son had found their mother asleep on the kitchen floor and unable to be woken as Lukas laid on the changing table.
Around 2 a.m. the day that Lukas died, Patrick Long said he woke his ex-wife as she slept on the toilet and the two argued about her behavior.
“In the midst of that argument, I said, ‘If this is going to keep up, I don’t think I can stick around here,” Patrick Long testified.
While at work that day, he called Long at least four times to check up on her before he received a call from police saying he should come home for an emergency.
Patrick Long testified that he finally got ahold of Long as he drove back to the house, who said “It appeared that Lukie had suffocated while taking a nap,” the Free Press wrote.
In a recorded interview, Long said she told Lukas, “’Don’t be dead,’ but he already was.”
Long is charged with second-degree murder and second-degree child abuse.
Testimony resumed Wednesday.