There was no medical reason for the dead 2-year-old boy to have had Vicodin in his system, or for the drug’s residue to appear in his sippy cup, according to Pennsylvania prosecutors.
“He was not prescribed Vicodin,” Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said at a press conference on Tuesday, which was streamed online by Tullytown police.
Weintraub said it would be “incredibly rare” for a toddler like Mazikeen Curtis — found dead last month at his home in Tullytown, Pennsylvania — to be given a drug so strong. But there was a bottle of Vicodin in the home, and prosecutors say the boy’s mother intentionally used the pills to kill Mazikeen.
Prosecutors have charged Jennifer Clarey, Mazikeen’s 42-year-old mother, with one count of criminal homicide in her child’s death, Weintraub said. She was arraigned on Tuesday and is being held in Bucks County without bail, according to prosecutors.
“Plain and simple, this was a murder,” Weintraub said, pointing to a container of painkillers. “The weapon was the pills that came from this bottle.”
Authorities found Mazikeen dead around 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 25 at Clarey’s home. The boy was lying on a bed, with no apparent trauma, according to the district attorney.
Police and county social workers had been performing a welfare check at the time, and discovered Clarey on a bloody sheet near the dead child, Levittown Now reports.
Clarey had what appeared to be self-inflicted wounds to her wrist, according to the district attorney’s office. An arrest report said the lacerations were consistent with attempted suicide, Lehigh Valley Live reports.
“What her actual intentions were, I can’t say,” Weintraub said.
An autopsy revealed that Mazikeen’s brain was “swollen and dusky,” which suggests an overdose, Levittown Now reports.
Lab tests showed Vicodin in Mazikeen’s system “at a toxic level,” and also in the sippy cup recovered at the scene, Weintraub said.
Weintraub said that at the home, in a locked box, investigators discovered an empty prescription bottle of Vicodin. The key to that locked box was found elsewhere in the house after the child’s death, he said.
Prosecutors didn’t outline a motive, though Weintraub said they may have a “good idea” — and said more will come out in court.
“His mother, Jennifer Clarey, will be made to answer for Mazikeen’s murder,” Weintraub said. “He never really had a chance to live a life.”
On the night Mazikeen was found dead, neighbor Dawn Dunlap conferred with other neighbors after seeing Cleary act strangely, and they decided to call for a welfare check, ABC reports.
“Me and my other neighbor, we discussed it and said, ‘you know what, this is something we have to do,’” Dunlap said, according to the TV station.
Neighbors said Mazikeen was a happy child who was fond of Woodstock, the bird from the Peanuts cartoons, the Bucks County Courier Times reports.
“He was just the sweetest little boy you would ever want to know ... We’re all devastated,” neighbor Susan Gilmore said, according to FOX 29. “Words can’t express how we feel.”