By Clair McFarland, General Assignment Reporter
Accused of involuntarily killing his toddler son by having illicit medications accessible in his home, a Rock Springs man could face up to 20 years in prison.
Daniel Scott James, 35, was arrested Monday at his home without incident and is charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to a statement by the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office.
Jason Mower, sheriff’s office spokesman, said in the statement that the case dates back to the morning of Oct. 21, when deputies responded to a home north in Rock Springs on a report of an unconscious, unresponsive 2-year-old who was not breathing.
“When they arrived, they found the boy’s father administering CPR. The child’s body was stiff and cold to the touch; he was obviously deceased,” Mower said.
Despite first responders’ efforts to resuscitate him, the boy was pronounced deceased by paramedics on the scene, the statement reads.
Upon investigating, detectives learned James was taking “a number of different prescribed and illicit medications” including Buprenorphine, commonly branded as Suboxone and prescribed to treat opioid withdrawal, the statement says.
At the time of death, the statement continues, James said he kept his medications in a pill organizer on the microwave.
James told investigators that the night before the boy died, he noticed his Buprenorphine was missing from the pill organizer. The child’s mother also reported that her toddler son had vomited several times before bed that night, the sheriff’s office reported.
“While no obvious signs of trauma were discovered during autopsy, toxicology results revealed Buprenorphine in the child’s system,” the statement adds. “While forensic experts would not specify the exact number of pills the boy may have ingested, they said less than one pill was enough to prove lethal.”
‘These Investigations Are Never Easy’
“These investigations are never easy,” said Stephanie Cassidy, lead detective on the case. “A child was lost. Despite the circumstances, my deepest condolences are with the family.
“We’ve spent a lot of time and effort over the last few months piecing this together and trying to bring justice to this little boy.”
In Wyoming, involuntary manslaughter is defined as unlawfully killing any human being without malice, involuntarily but recklessly, and is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
James’ prosecution is ongoing.