December 1, 2022

A Virginia woman this week was indicted by a grand jury on murder and felony child neglect charges after her four-year-old son died earlier this year from eating a large amount of THC gummies, authorities said. Dorothy Annette Clements, 30, was taken into custody Thursday, the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office reported in a news release.

Clements’ young son, Tanner, died on May 8, two days after he had been found unresponsive at his home, the sheriff’s office reports. Doctors informed detectives that his toxicity level showed a high amount of THC, which led investigators to determine that the boy had “ingested a large amount of THC gummies,” the sheriff’s office said in its release. 

Detectives also learned from doctors that the boy could have been saved had his mother acted sooner, the sheriff’s office said.

“The attending doctor told detectives that if medical intervention occurred shortly after ingestion, it could have prevented death,” the release read.

Before being indicted, Clements told CBS News affiliate WUSA9 that she had no idea the gummies she bought actually contained THC. She eventually realized her son had eaten one gummy, but did not believe it would harm him. She also claimed she called the Poison Control Center.

However, the sheriff’s office said her statements were not consistent with the evidence authorities found at the home.

Clements is being held without bail in the Rappahannock Regional Jail.   

The accidental consumption of cannabis edibles by children is on the rise in the U.S., according to the National Capital Poison Center.

The number of children under 12 who have ingested edibles at home jumped from 132 in 2016, to almost 2,500 last year, according to numbers from the American Association of Poison Control Centers. 

Children are often more susceptible to unintentional cannabis exposure because edibles are presented in colorful, attractive packaging that resembles candy or other snack foods.

“Cannabis edibles may be in packaging that is remarkably similar to snack foods that are popular among children and adolescents, including Doritos, Nerds, and Cheetos,” the National Capital Poison Center writes on its website. “While the packaging does state that the product inside contains cannabis or THC, this information is often in small print and cannot be easily read or understood by young children.”

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