A Maryland couple is facing child abuse charges in connection with the recent death of their son, whom they allegedly had drugged almost daily with the father’s prescription sedatives and antidepressants for two years to help him sleep.
The 4-year-old boy, Ayden Foster, died at Union Hospital on Jan. 21 after his father — Bryan E. Foster, 38 — had carried the child there from their apartment in Elkton, Md., because the youngster was convulsing, police said.
According to an obituary released by relatives, the boy was born in Newark and attended preschool at the Meadowood School on Capitol Trail.
Because of the “suspicious circumstances” surrounding the boy’s death, police added, the emergency room doctor notified Elkton Police Department detectives.
Detectives learned that, earlier that night, Foster had given the boy 150 milligrams of Trazadone, a sedative, and 400 milligrams of Seroquel, an antidepressant commonly used to combat schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, police reported. Those drugs had been prescribed for Foster, not for the child, according to police.
At first, Foster maintained that the boy’s consumption of the medication was an accident, telling investigators that the youngster had grabbed the drugs and had eaten them after Foster had left them on a kitchen counter, according to court records.
“Bryan Foster stated that he placed the pills on the countertop, turned around to get water, then turned back around and saw the pills were gone. Bryan Foster assumed that Ayden had taken the tablets, but did nothing immediately to render aid. He did not call poison control. He did ask Ayden if he took the pills. He did not look into the child’s mouth. He did not seek medical attention, and he did not go the hospital until approximately 30 to 60 minutes has passed and Ayden was having a seizure,” court records allege.
Foster, however, recanted that story later in his interview with detectives, police reported.
“The investigation actually revealed that Foster had administered the two drugs to the victim,” said Capt. Joseph Zurolo, an EPD spokesman.
Foster and Ayden’s mother — Chantel Lace South, 23 — also have another child together, a girl who is almost 2, police said. Foster, South and their two children had lived together as a family until November, when the couple broke up, police added. While Foster and South had joint custody of the girl and of Ayden at the time of his death, they are estranged, police reported. The couple has since relinquished custody of the girl to relatives.
“As the investigation proceeded, information came to light that the children had been receiving prescription medications, not prescribed to them, from South and Foster,” Zurolo commented.
EPD detectives learned that the girl had been taken to Union Hospital on Oct. 30 because, while in the care of her parents at their apartment, she had ingested 150 milligrams of Trazadone and required medical attention, police reported.
“As the investigation into the victim’s death unfolded, Foster indicated that both he and South were complicit in the delivery of the prescription medications to their children in the past. In fact, South confessed that she and Foster regularly gave Trazadone and Seroquel to both their children. The administering of the medications would occur nearly every day. South indicated the female child has been receiving the medication for nearly a year and the male victim had been receiving the medications for nearly two years. South explained this was done in an attempt to help the children sleep,” Zurolo outlined.
South was not at the apartment on Jan. 21 when Foster gave Ayden the prescription sedative and antidepressant, which led to the boy’s death later that night, police reported.
Court records indicate that a woman whom Foster had been dating for approximately two weeks, April Yates, was present when Ayden started convulsing Jan. 21 and that she told Foster that he needed to take the boy “immediately” to the hospital — prompting Foster to leave the dwelling with the seizing child in his arms.
“April (Yates) stated that Bryan (Foster) carried Ayden to Union Hospital (and) returned to the apartment a few minutes later without Ayden to get his cigarettes. When he arrived, (Foster) was pounding his head and stating, ‘I killed my son. I killed him!” court records allege.
Foster is charged with manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, first-degree child abuse resulting in death and second-degree child abuse, according to court records.
South, meanwhile, is charged with reckless endangerment and eight counts of second-degree child abuse in the case, court records show.