Parents face felony charges after 15-month-old hospitalized
Seeing children exposed to dangerous drugs is nothing new for local law enforcement. Seeing a pregnant woman who has continued to use illicit substances right up until she gives birth isn’t either.
So it comes as no surprise to Sheriff Alex Hodge that a curious toddler finally got into his parents’ stash.
Shawn Beasley, 24, and Hannah Beasley, 17, were charged with felonious child abuse after their 15-month-old son ingested methamphetamine and had to be hospitalized. The father fled at first before eventually turning himself in to the Jones County Sheriff’s Department and the mother delayed seeking medical treatment for the toddler to try to avoid getting in trouble with the law, investigators said.
“Over the years, we’ve watched this play out,” Hodge said, recalling a case almost a decade ago when a baby was found with a diaper full of ammonium nitrate — an ingredient that was used to make meth. “It goes back to the shredding of the moral fiber in the country. Somebody has to stand up and try to change the direction we’re going in.”
Hannah Beasley took the child to the emergency room several hours after he licked meth out of a bottle cap, then he started showing signs of having a severe reaction to the drug. An older relative reportedly urged the mother to finally take the child to the hospital at about 1 a.m. Thursday.
Deputies were dispatched to South Central Regional Medical Center, where physicians told them that the toddler was under the influence of meth when he was brought to the hospital.
The mother told investigators Capt. Tonya Madison and Sgt. J.D. Carter that she saw the child pick up a bottle cap that had meth in it and lick it before she could get it away from him. That happened early Wednesday evening. She admitted that her husband frequently uses drugs, according to a press release from the JCSD.
She was taken into custody and charged with felonious child abuse, and after JCSD investigators alerted the public through Facebook and the media that they were looking for Shawn Beasley, he turned himself in at the JCSD the next day. He was also charged with felonious child abuse.
They made their initial appearances before Justice Court Judge David Lyons on Friday. They said they lived on Pearl Hodge Road in the Rustin Community with his mother. Shawn Beasley said he did not have a job and Hannah Beasley said she worked at IHOP in Hattiesburg.
Lyons appointed a public defender to represent them and set their bonds at $10,000 each. He also issued a strict no-contact for the parents to not attempt to have any contact with their child while the Department of Human Services is conducting its investigation. If they violate that condition of their bond, they will likely stay in the Jones County Adult Detention Center until their case is handled by the District Attorney’s Office, Lyons said.
The child’s condition was improving, but he was still in the hospital recovering on Friday.
“We see kids exposed to this stuff, this poison, and when the parents are faced with the consequences, they say, ‘Oh, how I love my kid …” Hodge said, shaking his head in disgust. “This could’ve been deadly.”
Shawn Beasley reportedly told investigators that what happened to his son was not his responsibility because he’s an addict.
That statement didn’t surprise Hodge at all.
“It’s always someone else’s fault,” he said. “They’re not going to blame themselves. They don’t work, have no desire to work, use drugs where their kids can get a hold of them …
“But one person can make a difference. And we are.”