A Palmer Park man was arrested Thursday night after toxicology tests revealed his 3-year-old son who died in January had ingested a deadly mixture of cocaine and medication, authorities said.
Police charged 38-year-old Thomas Everett Holland with first-degree child abuse and manslaughter after a medical examiner’s report ruled the boy’s death a homicide, Prince George’s County police said.
Toxicology tests revealed Jayson Maurice Holland had cocaine, acetaminophen, codeine and a drug commonly found in allergy medicine coursing through his body, according to police and court records.
“Those results are showing there was such a concentration of [the] four drugs that our detectives and medical examiners believe there is no chance this child could have accidently ingested them,” said Lt. William Alexander, a spokesman for Prince George’s County Police.
Although the boy died months ago, Alexander said, charges against Holland didn’t come until this week when toxicology results became available.
Jayson’s uncle, Davon Hicks, said his family was shocked to learn of the child’s death and even more horrified knowing how the “happy little boy” who loved football and Spider-Man died.
“He was 100 percent healthy,” said Hicks, the brother of Jayson’s mother, Shinee Hicks. “Just a regular boy with not a care in the world.”
Family and police say Holland picked up his son for a court-ordered visitation the weekend of Jan. 25 and took Jayson to his home.
Jayson’s mother and father were never married, and at one-point, Holland had stopped showing up for court-ordered visits with the toddler, said Davon Hicks, 25.
“Basically that last weekend of January, he popped up out of nowhere,” Davon Hicks said of Holland.
That Sunday morning, Holland arrived at United Medical Center in Southeast Washington, saying he had “discovered his son in the living room of his home unresponsive,” court documents state. About half an hour later, doctors pronounced the toddler dead.
There were no obvious signs of trauma or physical abuse when Jayson arrived at the hospital, authorities said. And Jayson’s family had not heard from Holland since he had come to pick up the toddler that weekend.
Police arrived at his sister’s door that Sunday morning to tell her that her son was dead, Davon Hicks said. Police and family say Holland did not mention anything about drugs to them at the hospital or after Jayson’s death.
Nearly four months later, a report from the medical examiner’s office concluded the boy’s death likely came within four hours of ingesting the “extremely large amounts” of drugs, according to court records.
Holland is in custody and his family could not immediately be reached for comment. It is not clear if he has a lawyer.
Jayson’s mother had been seeking child support from Holland for most of the boy’s life, in what Davon Hicks described as a “long, drawn-out” court battle. Holland had denied being Jayson’s father, and did not attend Jayson’s funeral, Davon Hicks said.
Court records show Holland at one point owed $6,000 in back child support, and a judge later ordered him to pay his debt, as well as monthly child support.
Court records indicate that in December, Holland complained that Shinee Hicks and Jayson were not home twice in November when he was scheduled to pick up his son for visitation. He asked that Jayson’s mother be held in contempt of court, which a judge later denied.
While Jayson’s family mourns for the laughing little boy who loved to run around and pretend he could fly like a superhero, they’re also preparing to welcome his younger sister into the world, a baby who will never meet her big brother. Shinee Hicks announced she was pregnant to her family the Christmas before Jayson died, Davon Hicks said.
“It’s bittersweet,” Davon Hicks said. “Jayson was loved by a lot of people.”