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Child critical after swallowing parents’ methadone

Annette Martinez

Annette Martinez

Anthony Martinez

Anthony Martinez

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A 2-year-old was still alive Thursday but could suffer brain damage, doctors told detectives, after he swallowed a “toxic level” of the narcotic methadone at home, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metro Court.

His parents, Anthony and Annette Martinez, who allegedly use methadone and left it in is his reach, face child abuse charges. They are in jail on cash-only bonds of $100,000, according to jail records.

Methadone is used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in patients addicted to opiate drugs.

Aaron Williamson, spokesman for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, said the child was still in the pediatrics intensive care unit at Presbyterian Hospital as of Thursday afternoon. He was in stable but critical condition, Williamson said.

Williamson said it’s not clear what sort of long-term damage the child will suffer, but, according to the criminal complaint, one doctor told detectives that he will be “neurologically devastated.”

The Children, Youth and Families Department is investigating the current case, a spokesman said. He would not say whether CYFD had previously investigated the couple.

But Williamson said both Anthony and Annette Martinez were charged with child abuse in July 2011. In that incident, an Albuquerque police officer saw them at a law office with a 5-month-old. They were having difficulty maintaining balance, keeping their eyes open, and buckling their child into a child seat, according to a criminal complaint filed on July 19, 2011. They told the officer they were “on methadone.”

According to the new complaint:

On Monday, Anthony, 25, and Annette, 28, took their son to Presbyterian urgent care after they found him unresponsive. He suffered two cardiac arrests at the hospital. A urinalysis indicated methadone in his system.

Doctors said he had been suffering the effects of the drug for about 12 hours before his parents took him to urgent care. His parents said he had been sick for a week with what appeared to be cold-like symptoms.

During interviews with BCSO detectives, the Martinezes admitted to being past heroin addicts and current methadone users. Annette Martinez, who also uses the name Annette Pamela Romero, told detectives that she and her husband did not keep the narcotic out of their son’s reach and that she had “seen him in possession of an empty methadone bottle before this incident.”

She said it was possible a bottle had been left within his reach in the past week.

They told police they threw the methadone bottles away at home in an effort to keep law enforcement from finding them during an investigation.

Both Anthony and Annette Martinez face charges of child abuse resulting in great bodily harm, tampering with evidence and conspiracy.
— This article appeared on page A1 of the Albuquerque Journal