Jennifer Campos and Anthony Casillas, Couple Who Gave Baby Methadone For Toothache, Plead Not Guilty
Two people accused of giving their 2-year-old son methadone to relieve a toothache pleaded not guilty today to a collection of child abuse-related charges.
Initially, the baby's mother, Jennifer Campos, was booked on three counts of endangering the life of a minor, and four counts of child abuse. The boy's father, Anthony Casillas, was hit with four counts of child abuse, and three counts of endangering the life of a minor. Another woman involved, Misty Murphy, who provided the couple with the methadone, was booked on one count of child abuse.
According to court documents obtained by New Times, in addition to the methadone found in the baby's bloodstream, doctors also found traces of amphetamine, nicotine, and acetone. But that's not all; the boy's parents -- 35-year-old Campos and 37-year-old Casillas -- have been "on the run" from state Child Protective Services since June.
About 10:45 a.m. on October 23, police were called to the Motel 6 at 8152 Black Canyon Highway in Phoenix in response to a 2-year-old boy who wasn't breathing.
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Police quickly learned that the boy's parents, as well as another woman, 35-year-old Murphy, had given the boy a mixture of Kool-Aid and methadone -- a synthetic opiate often used to ease addicts off of heroin -- to treat a toothache.
The boy's toothache, detectives later discovered, was caused by "bottle rot." In addition to the boy's rotten teeth, his gums were bleeding.
The boy was taken to a local hospital where he is currently recovering.
Detectives determined that Campos had called Casillas and asked him to pick up some Orajel to help ease the baby's pain. Casillas -- who was with Murphy when his baby-mama called asking for the Orajel -- decided to go a different direction in terms of treating the baby's pain; he suggested methadone.
The three adults discussed it and agreed that methadone was the way to go. Murphy provided the drug to Casillas, who gave it to Campos, who then mixed it with purple Kool-Aid and fed it to her 2-year-old son at about 3 a.m.
Later that morning, the baby had stopped breathing and his lips were swollen.
Rather than call police -- or an ambulance -- Campos called her mother and asked her to come pick the baby up, as well as her other two children, because she didn't want CPS to take her kids away, she later told police. Campos' mother advised her daughter that it was time to call the police, which she finally did.
During police questioning, Campos came clean about giving the baby methadone. When told the boy also had amphetamine in his system, she told detectives she and Casillas were living at the Motel 6 with their three children so CPS wouldn't be able to find them. While at the hotel, Campos told detectives, she and Casillas smoked crystal meth in the bathroom and the children may have been exposed to it.
When asked about it by police, Campos admitted that giving her baby methadone to treat a toothache was probably a "bad idea." Casillas, apparently, was more concerned about "snitches."
During a phone call with detectives, apparently upset someone had gone to police about his methadone-filled son, Casillas "belligerently" said "you fucking snitch ain't going to bring back [the baby]. That's what I'm saying -- you being a snitch is not going to bring [the baby] back."
As we mentioned, the baby is doing better, despite his "initial grim prognosis," according to Phoenix Sergeant Steve Martos.
Campos and Casillas are due back in in Maricopa County Superior Court on January 4.
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