Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

February 4, 2014
Toddler dies after ingesting methadone

Other children in family also sickened by accidental mix of methadone and sports drink 

Jill Goff

Jill Goff

A 2-year-old Tooele boy died Friday after allegedly ingesting some of his mother’s methadone that had been kept in a sports drink bottle.

Medical units were called to a home near 500 West Oak Street at about 6:45 p.m. for Aden Goff, who was not breathing. The child was taken to Mountain West Medical Center where he later died, according to a probable cause statement.

At about 1:30 a.m. Saturday, the family returned to Mountain West Medical Center, this time with an 8-year-old boy who was complaining of a rash and swollen eyes, according to a probable cause statement. Emergency room staff tested the boy’s urine, which revealed the presence of methadone. The boy’s 5-year-old sister was also tested, and she too was positive for methadone, according to the statement.

Methadone is a synthetic opioid typically used to medically mitigate withdrawal symptoms from addictions to opiates, such as morphine, heroin and opioide painkillers. Children who swallow methadone may turn pale, break out into a cold sweat, have difficulty breathing or become unconscious.

Capt. Paul Wimmer of the Tooele City Police Department said the children’s mother, Jill Goff, 32, had kept methadone in a Gatorade bottle near her bed, and had inadvertently poured it into a sippy cup for the toddler instead of actual Gatorade. When the 2 year old didn’t like it, she had the 5 year old try it, and when the 5 year old didn’t like it, she had the 8 year old try the drink, Wimmer said.

“When the 8 year old tasted it, he said, ‘Mom, it tastes like medicine.’ She said that’s when she realized she had given them methadone,” Wimmer added.

After realizing her mistake, Goff told police she tried to get the 2 year old to throw up, and then lay down with him for a nap, according to the probable cause statement. The call for medical help, after a 14-year-old sibling noticed the child was not breathing, came about two hours and 45 minutes after giving the toddler the sippy cup.

Wimmer said Goff told police she had not taken the toddler for medical attention or called Poison Control because she was afraid she would get in trouble, even though earlier medical intervention would have likely altered the outcome of the incident.

“She said she was scared,” Wimmer said. “That’s what’s disturbing about it: It was preventable.”

Goff was arrested and booked into the Tooele County Detention Center Saturday on two counts of child abuse, one count of endangerment of a child or vulnerable adult, and one count of homicide.

Wimmer said current indications are that Goff had the methadone legally; investigators are still trying to determine just how much she was supposed to have and whether that was how much she actually had in her possession.

“We’re kind of still trying to find out if she had the proper amount, make sure there wasn’t any doctor shopping, you might call it, to where she was getting more than she should have,” said Wimmer. “Obviously, storing it in a Gatorade bottle is not the way you store a controlled substance, but there’s no reason to believe she shouldn’t have had it.”

A candlelight vigel for Aden, organized by neighbors, is being held Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at Grandview Park. The public is invited to join.

Lisa Christensen

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Lisa covers primarily crime and courts, military affairs, Stansbury Park government and transportation issues. She is a graduate of Utah State University, where she double-majored in journalism and music, and Grantsville High School.

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