Mom charged with murder for death of son who consumed THC gummies

A mother in Virginia has been charged with felony murder and felony child neglect for the death of her 4-year-old son after he ingested THC-infused gummies earlier this year.

On Thursday, Oct. 20, the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office shared in a release that Dorothy Annette Clements, 30, was indicted by a grand jury in Spotsylvania County for the death of her son, Tanner Clements, on May 8, 2022. She was taken into custody on Thursday and incarcerated at the Rappahannock Regional Jail with no bond.

An attorney for Clements was not listed. Numerous attempts to contact the Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office and Rappahannock Regional Jail by TODAY were not returned.

According to police, the 4-year-old suffered a medical emergency on May 6, 2022, two days prior to his death, at a residence on Jamie Court.

"Detectives from the Child Victims Unit investigated the death and learned from doctors that the child’s toxicity level showed a high level of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol)," the release said. "Detectives believe the child ingested a large amount of THC gummies. The attending doctor told Detectives that if medical intervention occurred shortly after ingestion, it could have prevented death. Statements made to Detectives by the mother did not match evidence seized at the home."

WRC-TV, an NBC affiliate in Washington, D.C., reported that an autopsy ultimately revealed that THC had caused the child’s death.

Over just the last few years, there have been several cautionary tales in the news about children consuming products containing THC.

In April 2020, at least two children were hospitalized in Utah after consuming THC candy received from a food bank. The following year in June 2021, a mother shared her personal scary story on social media, writing in a Facebook post that her 6-year-old daughter was hospitalized overnight after accidentally consuming a marijuana-infused gummy that she mistook to for candy.

In April 2022, three toddlers in Virginia got sick from “gold fish crackers” that tested positive for THC. The children’s 60-year-old licensed home day care provider was charged with three counts of cruelty and injury to children after surrounding her day care license and surrendering to police.

“You have little kids that accidentally get into this stuff; they don’t know any better,” Sgt. Jim Gerhardt of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association said in September 2017. “Or a baby sitter might give a child something out of the pantry, not realizing what it is. Those accidental issues are on the rise, and it’s a big problem.”

Poison Control says on its website that after ingesting a THC gummy or marijuana-infused product, children will often exhibit a series of common symptoms including vomiting, drowsiness, difficulty walking, confusion, rapid heart rate, and breathing difficulties. If a child has ingested the substance, it is recommended to contact Poison Control for further advice.

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