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Parents charged in death of Arkansas toddler who ate meth

by Nyssa Kruse | September 26, 2019 at 12:44 p.m.
Carrie Darby and Joseph Phillips

Two Arkansas parents are charged with manslaughter in connection to the death of their 13-month-old after she ingested methamphetamine.

Carrie Darby, 22, and Joseph Phillips, 30, both of Widener, are also charged with exposure of a child to chemical substance and first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor.

Darby and Phillips brought their daughter, Delaney Phillips, to Forrest City Medical Center just before 2 p.m. July 7 with a 105-degree fever.

She was in “obvious distress,” according to the affidavits for the parents’ arrests, and medical staff told authorities she had nearly sucked the skin off her thumb.

Court documents state Delaney was airlifted to Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis for treatment, but she died en route.

An autopsy later determined her cause of death as methamphetamine intoxication.

Darby and Phillips told medical staff when they arrived at the hospital they had been at a city park in Widener that morning when Delaney picked up something from the ground and ingested it.

According to court documents, Phillips told police his daughter started “acting weird,” and they gave her Tylenol because she had "a little fever.” When her fever reached 105, they took her to the hospital.

However, a witness told authorities she texted Phillips the morning of July 7 asking to come over. He told her it was not a good time, according to court documents, but said she could come anyway.

The witness told police when she arrived Phillips was inside a car with Delaney “trying to cool her off.” The witness said her eyes were dilated and she was "in and out."

The witness said Phillips told her he was in the bathroom and Delaney got hold of his box containing scales, methamphetamine and marijuana.

Phillips said the child must have bitten the methamphetamine bag and ingested some but didn’t know how much because he said he “weighed the bag out and it appeared to be the same,” according to the witness.

The witness told police she texted Phillips later saying they would be going to jail, and he told her he planned to say it had happened in the park. Phillips also texted another person, the witness said, to get the drugs out of the house.

Two medical staff reported to police they heard Phillips ask in the hospital, “Was that the stash bag?” according to court documents.

Phillips told authorities he never had any drugs in the residence at the time of the incident.

Darby and Phillips are each being held in the St. Francis County jail on $150,000 bond.


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