UPDATE: 18-month-old in serious condition after suspected heroin overdose

Published: Apr. 5, 2017 at 10:41 AM EDT
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UPDATE 4/5/17 @ 6:15 p.m.

PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- An 18-month-old is recovering in the hospital Wednesday after she may have accidentally overdosed on heroin.

A witness tells WSAZ, both her parents were passed out on the kitchen floor.

Laura Royal, a family friend and neighbor, may have saved the little girl's life.

She used to babysit the toddler’s mother, Brandy Estep, 26.

Estep and father Jason Bolden, 41, are each charged with endangering the life of a child.

"When I actually looked back at the baby, she was blue," Royal said.

That baby Royal knows well. She lives in the same apartment building in the 1200 block of Robinson Avenue.

She rushed in Bolden and Estep’s apartment late Tuesday night.

She said Bolden was walking around, refusing to take the toddler to the hospital, saying if he did he would go to jail.

"He kept on saying it was her sugar,” Royal said. “He knew."

Just thinking about the situation gets Royal emotional -- a mostly happy girl, beautiful and brilliant, now unable to breathe.

She said it was another child, a sibling, who realized drugs were missing. Royal thinks the toddler swallowed them by accident.

"It tears my heart out because I watched her mom grow up,” she said. “To know something like that could happen, I can't even think about it. It's just crazy."

Portsmouth police, who were already in the area, arrived just as Bolden, finally persuaded by a number of pleas, rushed off with the girl to the hospital in a friend’s vehicle.

Capt. Lynn Brewer said while toxicology results are still pending, both the toddler and Estep were partially revived with Narcan, indicating a heroin overdose.

"It's heart-wrenching especially when you have kids of your own and you can relate to what's going on," said Capt. Brewer. “At that age, everything goes into their mouths. They pick it up, they stick in in their mouth. I don’t care what it is. That’s why you have to be so careful about keeping an eye on your kids.”

Royal said Bolden just got out of drug rehab.

She said Estep is sick and needs help. But she calls what happened overnight a deliberate act because she won't kick her drug habit.

"On a clean, sober day, you couldn't ask for a better mother," Royal said. "But on getting high days, she one of the worst. And if she's going to continue to get high, she doesn't deserve her kids.”

The girl was airlifted early Wednesday morning to Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. Police said she is responding and even trying to talk to people at the hospital.

As of Thursday afternoon, she was in serious but guarded condition in the ICU and may even be able to get released Thursday. When she is, it will be to Child Protective Services.

Both Bolden and Estep face a felony charge of Child Endangering. If convicted they face up to three years in prison, but police say more charges may be filed.


PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A mother and father have been arrested after the suspected overdose of their 18-month-old child.

Jason Bolden, 41, and Brandy Estep, 26, have both been charged with child endangering.

Police say the two had been using heroin and failed to provide care for the child Tuesday night.

According to a release, officers were told a baby was believed to be overdosing on the sidewalk in front of a home on the 1200 block of Robinson Avenue.

Police went to the location and saw an SUV leaving the area at a high rate of speed.

Portsmouth Police were told the child was in the SUV with the father and another man and that they were taking the child to the hospital.

The baby was unconscious and having difficulty breathing when they arrived at the hospital.

The mother was found unresponsive inside the home on Robinson Avenue. She was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

The child was flown to a Columbus hospital and is undergoing treatment.

Portsmouth Police tell WSAZ the baby was given Narcan.

During the investigation, police say they learned both Bolden and Estep had been using heroin and failed to provide safety and care to the child.

The case remains under investigation and it will be presented to the Scioto County Grand Jury where it is expected additional charges will be considered.