LAWRENCE, Kan. - A mother in Lawrence, Kan., has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after her 5-year-old son died from eating painkillers.
Rebecca Wynne, 25, was also charged with two counts of child endangerment on Thursday.
Douglas County district attorney Charles Branson said Wynne's three kids, ages 4,5 and 6, had found Wynne's pain killers and started using them for a counting game on April 27.
Branson said all three kids ate at least one pill.
Authorities said the 5-year-old boy went to sleep and didn't wake up the next morning. An autopsy revealed he died from ingesting opiates.
"This a completely preventable yet tragic situation," Branson said. "We have someone that was involved with these controlled substances and not taking any care or concern about anybody else getting into them."
Wynne's mother Teresa lives in the Lawrence home where the death occurred but was out of town the day it happened. She told 41 Action News that this was just a big accident and the entire family is grieving the loss of the young boy.
Neighbor Vickie Boetz said the children were well taken care of.
"I feel sorry for (the family)," Boetz said. "I know they're going through a hard time. They always supervised their kids really well."
Neighbor Otto Martin said kids playing with pain pills is a clear sign of negligent parenting.
"Couldn't you play Monopoly and learn how to count?" Martin said. "I've never heard of any such thing before."
Officials say Wynne illegally obtained the drugs. Teresa said Wynne was addicted to painkillers and checked out of rehab on Wednesday. She was arrested later that day.
The two surviving children are staying with relatives.
Branson did not say what kind of painkillers were consumed, but Lawrence pharmacist Pat Hubbel said any kind of opiate designed for adults can have catastrophic effect on children.
"They're designed to slow down your breathing," Branson said.
A normal dose for an adult could stop a child's breathing, Branson said.
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