The warning to parents came Sunday, a few hours after the appointed time for trick-or-treating in Galion, Ohio: A 5-year-old boy had tested positive for methamphetamine after collecting candy on the city’s west side, officers said. Candy may have been “laced” with the drug, police said, and parents should scour their children’s sweets.
Nearly a week later, authorities were trying to scuttle any fears about a candy-drugging stranger. Meanwhile, Cambray Carwell, the father of Braylen Carwell, the boy in question, was charged with possession of methamphetamine and evidence tampering, police announced on the Facebook page they had used to warn the community.
Police say Carwell, 24, also tested positive for meth — a week after a hospital analysis found evidence of the drug in his son’s system.
“I was putting my socks on, and then I started to shiver,” the 5-year-old told CBS affiliate WBNS, describing what his parents said was a seizure. “And then I couldn’t move my arm or my fingers."
The child’s father rushed him to a hospital. By then, “the left side of his face was just droopy, and then he fell and then he couldn’t move his left arm,” his mother, Julia Pence, told WSYX, an ABC affiliate. “And he didn’t know where he was, he didn’t know what he was doing.”
The boy’s mother told WBNS that she and Braylen’s father are recovering drug addicts but that both have been clean for years. She denied her son could have come into contact with methamphetamine through a family member.
After Braylen was released from the hospital Sunday, police obtained a search warrant for Carwell’s house. Inside they found drug paraphernalia, marijuana and methamphetamine. They also tested the boy’s candy and toy teeth that his parents said he had put into his mouth. Those tests came back negative.
“While we cannot definitively say how the little boy ingested methamphetamine, we are extremely confident that he did not ingest any candy from Trick or Treat that was tainted,” the department said on its Facebook statement. “The boy is home, has been attending school and has not shown any lingering effects from the drug.”
Carwell’s story is eerily similar to one of the earliest claims that Halloween candy had been laced with drugs, contributing to an urban legend that still lingers in the minds of many parents.
In 1970, 5-year-old Kevin Toston’s family said he died after snacking on tainted Halloween candy while at his uncle’s house in Detroit. Authorities later determined that the child had gotten into his uncle’s poorly hidden stash of heroin, eaten it and died.
But the story stuck in people’s minds and was even used in an attempt to cover up a murder.
On Oct. 31, 1974, Ronald Clark O’Bryan laced his 8-year-old’s Pixy Stix with cyanide. The boy complained of searing stomach pain, then died on his way to the hospital, The Post reported.
O’Bryan’s motive, Texas investigators learned, was to collect $20,000 in life insurance money. He also distributed the poisoned candy to his daughter and other neighborhood children.
He was executed in 1984, but not before other condemned prisoners bestowed upon him the nickname “Candy Man” — a villainous sobriquet that has endured for decades.