The boy who has become the face of an Ohio heroin epidemic after he was found in the back seat of an SUV with a couple passed out in front after an alleged overdose has found a new place to live.
An East Liverpool police officer discovered the 4-year-old after driving behind the Ford Explorer with two nearly unconscious adults in it. The two adults were reported to be the boy’s grandmother, Rhonda Pasek, 50, and her friend, James Lee Acord, 47, police said.
According to NBC News, the boy, who has not been identified, will be living with his great aunt and great uncle in South Carolina.
Pasek, who was reportedly granted custody of the child just six weeks before her arrest, is currently awaiting trial after she was charged with endangering children and public intoxication, police said.
“I’m surprised she even has custody of that kid," East Liverpool Police Chief John Lane told InsideEdition.com. "This problem goes a lot deeper than just this."
After the photo was snapped of the child solemnly sitting in the backseat of the vehicle with the two dazed adults, authorities posted it to social media, and quickly received backlash for not blurring the boy’s face.
“Public shaming. Totally ineffective as a deterrent. Shame on you for your poor judgment in taking and posting this photo,” one user posted in a Facebook comment.
The department, however, stood by their decision to post it emphasizing that it’s an epidemic that needs to be highlighted.
“It’s a photo that needs to be shared. You’ve got to understand, this isn’t a one-time deal,” Lane said, pointing to how unfazed the boy was to see his grandmother and the man she was with unconscious. “How many times has he sat playing there … and they’re there passed out with needles in their arms? This discussion needs to happen,” he continued. “This picture put out there makes it happen.”