Christine and Steven McCullen
A North Carolina couple was found passed out in a parked car from an apparent heroin overdose on Monday with their three-year-old child in the vehicle, the Goldsboro Police Department said.
Police said they responded to anonymous tip about a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot of a McDonalds. At the scene, police allegedly found Steven McCullen, 27, and Christine McCullen, 26, with open and unopened packages of what is suspected to be heroin, along with several syringes.
Police said the child was unharmed and taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital to be evaluated. Wayne County Social Services has taken custody of the child.
The child’s parents survived and were taken to jail where they were charged with possession of a schedule one drug, possession of drug paraphernalia, and child abuse. The driver, Steven McCullen was also charged with DWI. He received a $12,000 secure bond, while Christine McCullen received a $10,000 secure bond.
In a press release announcing the arrests, police thanked the anonymous caller “who possibly saved the lives of these two individuals.”
This case is the latest in the string of incidents around the country where overdose victims were found unconscious with children in cars.
On Friday, police in East Liverpool, Ohio, posted two graphic photos on Facebook showing a couple overdosing on drugs in the front seat of a car while a 4-year-old child sits in the backseat.
“We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug. We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess,” the Facebook post states. “This child can't speak for himself but we are hopeful his story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody.”
BuzzFeed News confirmed that the child was the grandson of the female passenger, Rhonda Pasek.
The child has since been placed in the care of his great aunt and great uncle, who live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, an attorney representing the child's great grandparents told NBC News.
The driver, James Acord, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 180 days on two charges, to run consecutively. Pasek’s case is still pending.
On Monday, a 2-month-old baby girl was found at the scene of a car accident in Miami with two adults who were “incoherent” and “dazed and confused,” Miami police told BuzzFeed News.
Police found the baby girl inside the car along with her mother and the male driver of the car when officers responded to the scene of a “minor accident.” Both adults — whose names have not been released — appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, police said Monday.
The baby’s mother and the driver were transported the hospital. They have not been charged, police said.
The child is now in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) which has begun a child protective investigation into the incidents that led up to the accident.
A DCF spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that the baby was “perfectly fine.”
Michael Hayes is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Mike Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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