Authorities said someone at Collman’s mother’s house eventually dialed 911, and the boy was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was ultimately pronounced dead.
Detective Tom Barker with the Jackson County sheriff’s department said Monday that the cause of death was determined to be acute methamphetamine intoxication. Barker said the toxicology results revealed last week that the child, who was identified by a family member as Curtis Collman III, had 180 times the lethal limit of meth in his bloodstream.
It’s unclear how the boy ingested the drugs.
Collman was arrested on numerous felony charges, including neglect of a dependent resulting in death, intimidation and possession of methamphetamine, as well as failing to register as a sex or violent offender, according to court records. An attorney assigned to Collman’s case could not immediately be reached for comment Monday by The Washington Post.
According to authorities, Collman told investigators that his son woke him up on the morning of June 21, saying that he was hungry. Collman said he told the child that there was nothing to eat in the house and then went back to sleep. Later, he said, his son woke him up again, but “was not acting right,” according to the probable cause affidavit.
Collman reportedly told investigators that his son was “laying there talking to his brother, who was not there” and that he “was twitching and bouncing his face off the floor.”
Collman also told police that his son was “hot, burning up hot,” “thirsty” and was “grabbing his face and scratching his own face,” according to the probable cause affidavit.
According to the affidavit, Collman told police that he called a friend, who came over, looked at the child and told Collman to take him to a hospital, but Collman told her that the child would be fine.
However, that friend told police that when she tried to call 911, Collman snatched her phone, saying, “I am not going back to prison,” according to the affidavit. It said she also told police that Collman pointed a gun at her and said “he would kill all three of them.”
At some point, authorities said, Collman took the child to see Collman’s mother, the boy’s grandmother.
Authorities said that Collman told them that the child was “stiff” — like from a full-body muscle spasm — so stiff that Collman could not move the child, according to the affidavit. Once at the child’s grandmother’s house, Collman placed him on the ground, he reportedly told the investigators.
The grandmother told the investigators that the child was speaking but was not making sense.
Collman told the investigators that he never advised anyone to call 911, according to the affidavit. In fact, the child’s grandmother told the police that Collman told her not to call 911, and when she insisted, he left the home. She told police that Collman then came back, “hysterical, crying and acting crazy” and “stated he was going to kill himself” before he left the house again, according to the affidavit.
At Collman’s home, which had no electricity, police found a white powdery substance wrapped in plastic and a glass plate with brown-colored crystals on it — items associated with methamphetamine, according to the probable cause affidavit. It stated that one officer noted that “the brown crystals on the plate could have been mistaken for cereal crumbs with no lights in the apartment.”
When questioned by investigators, Collman admitted that he had used meth on that plate but did not believe that his son had eaten it. Instead, he said, he suspected that his son had gotten into some bleach and Pine-Sol that Collman said he had used in the bathroom. When asked why he did not call 911, he told police that he panicked, according to the affidavit.
Collman was arrested June 21 and is being held on a $51,510 bond, according to online booking records.
Curtis’s other grandmother, Rita Cook, said that he was a happy and energetic 8-year-old who loved riding his bicycle and his scooter and watching “SpongeBob SquarePants.” She said that the cartoon’s theme song was played at the child’s funeral in late June.
“It’s going to be a long time before we get over this. It’s a daily struggle for all of us right now,” Cook told The Post, adding that Curtis has two half-brothers who are 3 and 12. “I think about him when I go to bed at night, and he’s the first thing I think about when I wake up.”