Louisa Mother Sentenced to Prison for Baby Son’s Fatal Poisoning

On Monday, a Louisa County mother convicted of fatally poisoning her 6-month old son with Benadryl was sentenced to three years in prison.

On March 19, 2013, Tristan Goodwin’s baby son, Tyler Firth, passed away, due to what was thought to be sudden infant death syndrome. A Louisa County Sheriff’s Office investigation later revealed that Firth had been given four times the lethal dose of Benadryl. Lab results also showed high levels of Tylenol in the child’s body.

Goodwin admitted to giving baby Tyler Benadryl over the objection of his father, and initially told detectives that a doctor, as well as the Benadryl box, said it was okay to give her son the medicine. In a follow-up interview, Goodwin revealed she had actually just heard the information from a friend. Louisa County Sheriff’s Office detectives examined several Benadryl boxes; all specifically stated that the medicine should not be given to babies. Goodwin also allegedly hid Benadryl from the child’s father.

“It was hard enough to deal with the SIDS,” said Tyler’s father, Brian Firth. “To find out it was so much more is heartbreaking.”

On Nov. 6, 2013, Goodwin was charged with involuntary manslaughter and child abuse and neglect. It took authorities nearly a month to locate her; she was arrested on Dec. 4.

On March 5, 2014, Goodwin, 32, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and felony child neglect. 

Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire said, “This is [a] tragic case, and I hope this child’s death sends the message to not give babies or young children Benadryl. Benadryl can cause paradoxical central nervous system stimulation, with effects ranging from seizure to death. There are published reports of infants dying with as little as 1.1 to 1.6 mg/L of Benadryl in their system.”

On May 12, Goodwin was sentenced to 10 years in prison with seven years suspended for the charge of involuntary manslaughter. She was also given five years probation. Goodwin was sentenced to 10 years in prison with 10 years suspended for the charge of child abuse, serious injury.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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