Man Charged in Methadone Death of 2-Year-Old Nephew: BSO

An Oakland Park man whose 2-year-old nephew died after ingesting a lethal dose of his Methadone pills is facing a manslaughter charge, authorities said.

Richard Marcus Gibbons, 38, was arrested Wednesday and was behind bars on $10,000 bond Thursday at the Broward County Jail. It was unknown whether he has an attorney. 

According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, Gibbon's nephew, Amari Francis, died on May 8 after he was rushed to the emergency room at Florida Medical Center unresponsive.

The boy had no obvious signs of trauma but an autopsy and toxicology tests determined the death was accidental and caused by a lethal level of Methadone, the BSO said.

"He did say that earlier that evening he was on the bed counting pills and it appears the young child must have ingested the methodone," said Keyla Concepcion of BSO.

Investigators learned Amari was in the care of Gibbon the night of his death while his mother was at work. Gibbon, who has a lifelong illness treated with Methadone, said he was counting the pills on his bed that night, the BSO said.

Hours later, when the boy's mother got home, she went to check on him and found him in Gibbon's room unresponsive on the bed, the BSO said.

Authorities say a similar incident involving Gibbons happened in 2005. In that case, which was investigated by BSO's Child Protective Investigations Section, Gibbon's 16-month-old niece was hospitalized after ingesting his medication.

"Why in the world anybody knew about what happened in 2005 would let them watch their child in 2014 is beyond the court," said Broward County Judge John Hurley.

Gibbon received counseling about the care of his prescriptions at that time. But the BSO said he has displayed an ongoing negligence in the care and control of his pills, and two relatives gave sworn statements that they had warned Richard about leaving pills loose on the floor.

If Gibbon is able to post bond, he will be placed under house arrest until his tril and he will not be allowed to have any contact with children under 16.

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