Crime and Courts

Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
Crime and Courts

NJ Man, Girlfriend Charged With Assault After 2-Year-Old Son Ingested Drugs

Prosecutors say they believe the boy ingested fentanyl and methamphetamine from a cotton ball contaminated during intravenous drug use at the residence

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A New Jersey man and his girlfriend have been charged with aggravated assault after the man's 2-year-old son ingested fentanyl and methamphetamine last month, prompting use of an anti-opioid medication to save his life, authorities said.

Burlington County prosecutors said Wednesday that Ray Drayton, 36, and Melissa Wilkerson, 36, of Mount Holly were also charged with child endangerment and cruelty and neglect.

Officers called to the home Jan. 13 found the toddler breathing in a shallow manner and exhibiting symptoms of a drug overdose, prosecutors said. He was taken to Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly, where he was given the opioid-overdose antidote naloxone, they said.

Further examination revealed that the child's brain had begun to swell and he was taken to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where surgery was done the following day to try to relieve the swelling, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say they believe the boy ingested fentanyl and methamphetamine from a cotton ball contaminated during intravenous drug use at the residence. He remains at the Philadelphia hospital in critical condition, they said.

It's unclear whether the defendants have attorneys; a woman answering the phone at a number associated with Drayton declined comment Wednesday night.

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