Baltimore grandmother charged in death of grandson after rubbing his gums with methadone

BALTIMORE - A Baltimore grandmother was arrested and charged with murder, child abuse and related charges after she allegedly admitted to rubbing methadone on her grandchildren last month to help them sleep.

According to Baltimore City police, Towanda Reaves was charged with second-degree murder, child abuse resulting in death, first- and second-degree assault, first-degree child abuse and reckless endangerment in response to the incident.

Police said officers responded to a home on the 1900 block of North Forrest Park Ave. around 4:15 a.m. July 5 and observed medics performing CPR on a 17-month-old baby boy. The child was transported to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4:52 a.m.

At 2 p.m. that same day investigators received a phone call from the hospital that a 5-month-old girl from the same family was admitted and given a toxicology test, which came back positive for methadone. That victim was in stable condition.

According to police, Reaves confessed to having rubbed methadone on the gum line of both children.  Reaves said she put her three grandchildren to bed around 8 p.m. July 4 and checked on the children around 2 a.m. when she could hear the boy snoring. She got out of bed around 4 a.m. to turn off the air conditioning and discovered the boy was not breathing.

Police said she immediately brought him into the living room where his father was sleeping on the couch. She called 911 and the operator walked her through how to perform CPR. Police added that on July 31, the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the cause of death was methadone intoxication and ruled the death a homicide.

Reaves was arrested without incident on Thursday and was transported to Central Booking.

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