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Woman faces felony charges after her 17-month-old overdosed

The infant was unresponsive, and preliminary reports from toxicology tests show that he had methamphetamine and fentanyl in his system


By Steve Horrell
Edwardsville Intelligencer

GRANITE CITY, Ill. —  When paramedics arrived at a home in rural Granite City, they found a 25-year-old woman who appeared to be overdosing on narcotics. More alarmingly, her 17-month-old son, cradled in her arms, seemed to be overdosing as well.

The infant was unresponsive, and preliminary reports from toxicology tests show that he had methamphetamine and fentanyl and his system, according to Madison County Sheriff John Lakin.

Charges have been filed against Billie Jean Cottle after her son overdosed. (Photo/Madison County Jail)
Charges have been filed against Billie Jean Cottle after her son overdosed. (Photo/Madison County Jail)

Paramedics administered Narcan, an antidote frequently given to reverse the effects of opioids. Still, Lakin said, a single dose this time did not bring the desired result.

“It’s very alarming to us that they had to administer Narcan to a 17-month old child several times to make him more responsive,” Lakin said at a news conference Wednesday morning at the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.

The infant was rushed to an area hospital and Lakin said he will probably be released Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, charges have been filed against Billie Jean Cottle, of 136 Troeckler Lane, in rural Granite City. She is charged with felony aggravated battery to a child, misdemeanor aggravated battery to a child, felony reckless conduct, and endangering the life or health of a child, a misdemeanor.

She was being held Wednesday at the Madison County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond.

Coddle also has a fugitive warrant for her arrest from St. Louis County.

The latest incident began unfolding around 7:50 pm Monday when the Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call. Several family members had been outside the house at 136 Troeckler Lane when one of them noticed the mother and child hadn’t been with them for several minutes. That prompted one of the family members to enter the house, pounded on a locked bathroom door, and force their way inside, Lakin said. Emergency responders soon arrived from the Mitchell Fire Department and the Alton Memorial Ambulance Service. They began a criminal investigation and seized suspected drug paraphernalia, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Department.

Lakin said it is still unclear how the infant ingested the drugs. “But I think back on being a parent myself, and I realize that when young children pick something up, the first thing they do is it goes toward their mouth,” he said. “It could be a situation where the mother was using narcotics in the bathroom and, as the drug starts taking effect she drops something on the floor and the child just immediately picked it up and put it in his mouth.”

Lakin characterized fentanyl as a “very, very strong and dangerous drug” that has “more and more become part of what we’re fighting here.”

“It’s just very disturbing to us,” Lakin said. “We know that every day there are people overdosing on heroin and other drugs, but when we have reached a point where it’s a 17-month-old child, it’s even more disturbing.”

Lakin praised the family member who realized that Cottle and her son had not been seen for a while, and took action to find out why.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is actively involved in the investigation and is coordinating placement of the child. Lakin said he believes a family member will step up and “take good care of the child because they care deeply about him.”

Copyright 2017 Edwardsville Intelligencer

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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