Police and family baffled as to why PA mom poisoned young sons with Visine

By David Ferguson
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 8:48 EDT
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Samantha Unger via screencap
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A 23-year-old Gettysburg, Pennsylvania woman admitted to police that she tried to poison her young sons with the eye-whitening product Visine.

The New York Daily News said that Samantha Elizabeth Unger was arrested in June after her 3-year-old son was hospitalized on multiple occasions for poisoning-related symptoms.

Unger’s one-year-old son was also poisoned with the chemical, but, the mother said, only by mistake when he drank from the 3-year-old’s cups of juice or milk. She admitted to police this week that she emptied full bottles of Visine into the older boy’s drinks on multiple occasions.

The active ingredient in Visine is a chemical called tetrahydrozoline. The National Institute of Health says that tetrahydrozoline poisoning can cause rapid changes in blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, headaches, tremors, seizures and coma.

Unger has been charged with three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of endangering the welfare of children. Prosecutors said they could not charge her with attempted murder because they could not establish whether that was truly her intent.

“We could not show that intent, given her actions in this case,” said Adams County District Attorney Shawn Wagner.

Unger was released on bond. Her children are in the custody of a relative.

Watch video about this story, embedded below:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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