Methadone Dose Confirmed as Cause of Death of Young Ohio Girl

By Victoria Kim 04/25/14

For three years, Amya Hawthorne's health deteriorated following a devastating dose of methadone given to her by a family friend.

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Last week, Franklin County Coroner Jan Gorniak confirmed that the cause of the death of eight-year-old Amya Hawthorne, who died last month, was a dose of methadone given to her by a family friend. Four days before Amya’s fifth birthday on Oct. 7, 2010, she was sick and had trouble sleeping. Kimberly Brooks, now 57, decided to give the child a sip of methadone to help her feel better, but instead the drug sent her into cardiac arrest.

Amya was rushed to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, but it was too late. The devastating effect of the drug used to treat opiate addiction had claimed the girl, who would remain unresponsive and in frequent hospital care for more than three years until her death on March 4. “She was never functional from the time she was given the methadone dose,” said Columbus police homicide detective Jay Fulton.

Seven months after the incident, in May 2011, Brooks was indicted on a count of felonious assault and two counts of child endangering. In December 2011, she pleaded guilty to one count of endangering and was sentenced to five years in prison. At the time of the plea, the prosecutor’s office said that Brooks could be indicted again if Amya died. Police say Brooks could face new, more serious charges, like involuntary manslaughter, now that it has been confirmed that methadone was the cause of death. Brooks will be eligible for early release in June 2015.

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