LISBON, Ohio — A 4-year-old Ohio boy pictured in police photos in the back seat of a car while his grandmother and her boyfriend were slumped over from a drug overdose is moving in with other relatives.
Columbiana County Juvenile Court administrator Dane Walton tells The Associated Press that the boy’s great uncle and great aunt in South Carolina petitioned the court for custody, which was granted Monday by a judge.
Walton says the grandmother, Rhonda Pasek, was granted custody of the boy six weeks ago. Walton says the judge’s report shows that at the time there was “no evidence brought forward” of any drug issues with Pasek.
Pasek is being held on a child endangerment charge. Her boyfriend, James Acord, pleaded guilty to child endangerment and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
On Friday, East Liverpool police in Ohio released the controversial photos in an effort to show the public the impact of the heroin and painkiller epidemic is having. According to a police report, the images were taken after the vehicle narrowly missed a stopped school bus.
“We are well aware that some may be offended by these images and for that we are truly sorry, but it is time that the non-drug using public sees what we are now dealing with on a daily basis,” the city said in the Facebook post.
“This child can’t speak for himself but we are hopeful his story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody.”
An addiction expert who spoke with Global News said releasing the photos was problematic and could lead to further stigmatization surrounding people with mental health issues.
*With files from Global News