Oregon dad accused of drugging daughter’s 12-year-old friends at sleepover 

FILE - A 57-year-old father from Oregon turned himself in to police on Feb. 28, 2024, after he was accused of drugging three 12-year-old girls with a sedative drug at his own daughter's sleepover. Getty Images via Oliver Helbig

NOTE: The following article contains disturbing content. Please read at your own discretion.

An American man turned himself in to police on Wednesday after authorities in Oregon accused him of drugging three 12-year-old girls at his daughter’s sleepover using mango smoothies laced with benzodiazepines.

Lake Oswego resident Michael Meyden, 57, allegedly laced the drinks with the sedative drugs while hosting a sleepover for his daughter on Aug. 26, 2023, according to local police.

Meyden was indicted on nine charges, including causing another to ingest a controlled substance and delivery of a controlled substance to a minor.

In a probable cause affidavit obtained by the local news outlet The Oregonian, officials at the Lake Oswego Police Department said they were called to Portland’s Randall Children’s Hospital the day after the sleepover when the three girls tested positive for benzodiazepines.

Story continues below advertisement

According to the government of Canada, benzodiazepines are a class of substances often used as sedatives and tranquilizers. They are commonly prescribed to aid sleep, seizure and anxiety disorders. Side effects of the medication can include dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, memory impairment and loss of coordination and balance.

Meyden’s lawyer, Mark Cogan, has maintained his client’s innocence.

“We hope that people will reserve judgment until all of the facts and circumstances are known,” Cogan told The Oregonian.

The girls told police Meyden was “very involved” in his daughter’s sleepover activities. The girls watched movies and had a “spa night” complete with facials in the basement of Meyden’s home. At one point in the evening, Meyden served his daughter’s friends smoothies that had “tiny white chunks throughout and sprinkled on top,” police alleged.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

When one of the girls told Meyden she does not like smoothies, he apparently “insisted they drink them,” and even made a second smoothie for the objecting minor to try.

The affidavit alleges Meyden used different coloured reusable straws to differentiate the drinks and “was adamant that the girls drink out of their own cups.”

Meyden accused the child who said she did not like smoothies of switching straws with his daughter “and this upset him,” police wrote. Police said the girls claimed to feel groggy, woozy and may have even blacked out after drinking the mango smoothies.

Story continues below advertisement

One of the girls — who did not finish her smoothie — said she fought the drowsiness and pretended to be asleep while Meyden allegedly made repeated trips to the basement to check on the minors. The 12-year-old said she “remained awake in fear that Mr. Meyden was going to do something” to one of her friends.

The girl said Meyden at one point held his finger under one of the girl’s noses and waved his hand in front of her face, as if checking whether or not she was asleep. She said she could feel Meyden watching her sleep for prolonged periods of time.

The 12-year-old then waited for Meyden to leave the room again and texted her mother for help.

“Mom please pick me up and say I had a family emergency. I don’t feel safe. I might not respond but please come get me [crying emoji], Please. Please pick up. Please. PLEASE!!” the text, revealed in the affidavit, reads.

The girl was picked up by an adult, and her parents alerted the other children’s guardians of the possible danger. The rest of the girls were picked up around 3 a.m. local time, police reported.

Story continues below advertisement

Meyden allegedly told the other parents the girls were sleeping and that they should return to collect them in the morning. The parents took their daughters despite Meyden’s protests.

One of the girls allegedly could not walk on her own when leaving the house, and repeatedly asked, “What happened?”

The affidavit said the victims and their parents believe the girls had “unknowingly been given drugs by their friend’s father.”

A motive is unclear.

The girl’s identities have not been made public, as they are minors.

The Oregonian reported Meyden’s bail was set at US$50,000 (about C$67,880).

Sponsored content