Kentucky family at odds after coroner rules 22-month-old son died from narcotics overdose

By Arturo Garcia
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 23:05 EDT
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Kentucky family at odds after coroner finds narcotics in 22-month-old's system [WLKY-TV]
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The coroner’s office for Grayson County, Kentucky, has determined that a 22-month-old boy’s cause of death runs counter to the explanation given by his maternal grandmother, WLKY-TV reported on Wednesday.

Officials determined that Keaton Runsvold died on Jan. 16 from ingesting three different narcotics. The boy’s paternal grandmother, Lana Brown, told authorities at the time of his death that he swallowed household cleaning products. But instead, officials found alprazolam, oxycodone, and clonazepam in his system.

Brown also said in January that Keaton and his sister, 3-year-old Peighton Runsvold, had been left at her home three days earlier by their mother, Chasity Lucas.

The drugs found in the boy’s system were reportedly prescribed under Brown’s name.

“I expect all kinds of charges. The mother of these children left these kids with no regard to their well-being at all,” the children’s paternal grandmother, Tammy Barlow, was quoted as saying. “Somebody has to pay, because he sure paid.

Barlow told WLKY that, having received the coroner’s report on Tuesday, she questioned officials’ determination that Keaton had overdosed by accident.

“I wanted to know who the insane person was that thought that a child, who’s 22 months old, who can’t even open a cup, opens three bottles of narcotics?” she was quoted as saying. “It makes no sense.”

State police told WLKY that the investigation into the fatal incident was still ongoing, and that they intend to turn the case over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for referral to a grand jury.

An attorney for the children’s father, Phillip Runsvold, said he may file a wrongful death lawsuit, pending the results of the investigation. Phillip Runsvold and Lucas reportedly divorced last year.

Watch WLKY’s report, aired on Wednesday, below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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