Woman sentenced in toddler methadone death case

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Updated: 10/11/2012 5:42 pm
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Former Reno resident Gina Lindquist was sentenced to 36-90 months in prison for Child Neglect Resulting in Substantial Bodily Harm, according to Dan Greco, the Chief Deputy District Attorney.

In October 2011 the defendant was indicted by a Washoe County Grand Jury. She pled guilty to the charge on June 21.

According to Grand Jury testimony on the evening of Saturday, January 24, 2009, the defendant babysat Sammy S., the four-year-old victim named in the indictment. The child’s mother delivered Sammy to Lindquist with the plan being that Lindquist was going to watch the child overnight.

Lindquist was a recovering heroin addict who was on a methadone maintenance program at the time of the crime. Methadone is a synthetic opiate used to treat heroin addiction.

At approximately 5:00 a.m. Lindquist banged on the mother’s door and stated that she had just woken up and found Sammy not breathing. The child never showed any signs of life and was declared dead at the hospital a short time later.

Lindquist told detectives that she had placed her prescription methadone on top of the medicine cabinet in her bathroom that night, so that it would be out of reach of Sammy. However, she admitted that at approximately 4:00 a.m., she got up to use the restroom and, when she returned to living area of the motel room, she placed the container with her methadone wafers on a small table located between the bed Sammy was sleeping on and the couch she was sleeping on. She told detectives she did this so the methadone would be easier for her to access in the morning. She specifically admitted that she was “being lazy, it would be more convenient for her.” Lindquist failed to keep her methadone in a child-proof container even though she had been given clear warnings to do so by staff at the Reno clinic where she obtained her methadone. It appears that Sammy ingested the methadone after Lindquist fell back asleep.

Subsequent toxicology examinations showed that the child’s blood and liver contained large quantities of methadone. Dr. Piotr. Kubiczek explained to the Grand Jury that the child died of methadone intoxication. Tiny amounts of methadone can cause respiratory failure and death in small children.

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