Investigators Say Autopsy Should Reveal Accidental Poisoning - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/18/07

Investigators Say Autopsy Should Reveal Accidental Poisoning

Investigators say autopsy results should reveal what they already suspect, that an industrial strength insecticide took the life of a two-year-old Lubbock girl Wednesday morning.

Fire and EMS crews responded to 1322 East 15th Street around 6:00 a.m. They found four adults and the toddler suffering from what they first believed was carbon monoxide poisoning. All five were rushed to University Medical Center, where the two-year-old died.

Since then the child's mother and another person have been treated and released.  The child's grandmother and great-aunt remained at UMC Wednesday night in satisfactory condition.

Crews taped off the victim's home so no one can go inside.  That's because the insecticide used, called Phostoxin, was still releasing chemicals inside the home.  Fire crews say they'll check out the home Friday afternoon, and the family may be able to come home then, but it will be a hard homecoming, one that folks say will affect the entire neighborhood.

"Because of the baby, the baby, everybody is used to walking by, seeing the baby, hollering at the baby, go into their pocket, give the baby change and stuff.  She's very smart very likeable to everyone in the neighborhood," family friend James Rayford said. 

Rayford tells NewsChannel 11 he grew up with the victim's grandmother, Thelma Turner.  When he would stop by their home he would visit with the victim's mother, "Cresha", and play with the little girl who he called "little monkey".

"I call her little monkey, yes, because she's always doing something. We always play together," Rayford said. 

He joined several concerned friends and neighbors Wednesday morning, hoping for the best, but finding out the worst, and what likely caused the two-year-old's death even shocked investigators.

"The material that we believe, that's in question right now is not available over the counter," LFD Acting Deputy Chief of Operations Chris Angerer said. 

That material is Phostoxin, an insecticide that according to professionals can only be purchased by licensed fumigators.

"I don't know how an individual would get a product like that; they shouldn't be able to buy something like this," Timothy Gafford, president of Gafford Pest Control Services Inc. said. 

Gafford tells us Phostoxin is used in grain elevators or grain silos, very large, open areas unlike the victim's home.  The chemical is so powerful that it will also kill prairie dogs and gophers.

Family members told investigators they got the material from a third party.  Gafford says that person had no business handing it out.

"It's entirely somebody that doesn't know what they're doing. A product like this should never be used by the general public, and never used in a house, ever," Gafford said. 

Police are hoping to question a suspect who may have sold this chemical to the family. 

In the meantime, NewsChannel 11 learned late Wednesday that one of those treated and released at UMC had to go back to the emergency room Wednesday night because she was feeling ill. 

An autopsy on the victim is scheduled for Thursday morning.

7/18/07
Pesticide Exposure To Blame For Death Of Two-Year-Old
The death of an east Lubbock 2-year-old girl could lead to criminal charges. NewsChannel 11's Julia Bruck has learned that Lubbock police have identified someone who may have given a Lubbock family an industrial strength pesticide to fumigate their home.

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