South Brunswick Woman Arrested After Young Son Overdoses on Methadone
A South Brunswick woman was criminally charged in connection with the death of her two-year-old son after he ingested her dose of methadone. The mother, 34-year-old Lynn Bergacs, was arrested and charged with reckless manslaughter and endangering the welfare of the child in the second degree, according to a release from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
On May 15, South Brunswick police officers were called to a residence located on Sand Hills Road in South Brunswick, New Jersey. When South Brunswick cops arrived at the scene, they found the child unresponsive. Police tried to revive the child but were unsuccessful. He was later pronounced dead at the scene. A subsequent investigation by detectives with the South Brunswick Police Department and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office reportedly revealed that the child ingested a combination of water and methadone that had been prescribed to Bergacs.
According to law enforcement officials, toxicology results confirmed that the child died from a methadone overdose. Methadone is a drug often used to help ease opioid addiction, but it can also be used as a pain reliever on its own.
Child Endangerment Charges in South Brunswick, New Jersey
The mother faces second degree criminal charges of endangering the welfare of a child. To be found guilty of that offense, the State must show that the defendant had a legal duty for the care of the child or assumed responsibility for the care of a child and caused harm to the child. In this case, the fact that Bergacs is the mother of the young victim would presumably make it easy for prosecutors to prove the first element of the criminal offense.
In addition to the criminal charges, the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P) will also likely intervene and seek to prosecute the parent. To be found guilty of abuse or neglect in the context of a child welfare proceeding, the Division must show that the parent or guardian either: (1) inflicted or allowed to be inflicted upon such child physical injury by other than accidental means which caused or created a substantial risk of death, or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted impairment of physical or emotional health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ; or (2) created or allowed to be created a substantial or ongoing risk of physical injury to such child by other than accidental means which would be likely to cause death or serious or protracted disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.
If you have been charged with child abuse or neglect, or if you are being investigated by New Jersey DCP&P in South Brunswick, Newark, Hackensack, or anywhere else in NJ, contact the Tormey Law Firm to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney about your case and explore your legal options.