Police: Boy, 4, choked to death on spiced water

Relates to:
Date: 2006-10-07
Source: caller.com

Police: Boy, 4, choked to death on spiced water

Barbara Ramirez and Mary Ann Cavazos
October 7, 2006

Police said a 4-year-old boy who died Tuesday at a local hospital was given a cup of water mixed with Cajun seasonings on Monday before he choked, vomited and lost consciousness.

Andrew Burd, who had been in the care of a Corpus Christi foster couple for several months, was taken to a medical clinic nearly three hours after the incident and was not breathing when he arrived. Clinic staff called police.

"The child died from a combination of sodium poisoning," said Capt. John Houston, who added the case is being treated as a homicide because of the nature of the death.

A homicide can be negligent, accidental or reckless, as well as intentional, according to the law. No arrests had been made Friday.

Houston did not release further details of the statement given by the couple to police, citing the ongoing investigation, but said there also were signs the boy slept on a piece of plywood.

"There was an injury to his head and marks all over his body," Houston said.

Andrew was in the process of being adopted by the couple, whose names were not released, through Spaulding for Children, a nonprofit agency based in Houston. Police have said Andrew was removed from his biological parents because of neglect.

Representatives with the local branch of the agency forwarded all inquiries to the agency's interim president, Vikki Finley, in Houston.

"We are deeply saddened by the events and are cooperating with CPS and the authorities fully," Finley said. Finley said the details of the case were confidential but that anyone who applies for adoption is required to pass a criminal background check, on-site study, orientation and submit outside references. The process can take from a few weeks to more than a year, she said.

The couple's four biological children were removed from the home by Child Protective Services earlier this week and placed in the temporary custody of relatives pending the outcome of the investigation. Officials with the Nueces County Medical Examiner's office said on Friday a final ruling on the boy's cause of death was pending toxicology results, which could take as long as a month.

John Gilmore, the attorney for the couple, said he was not yet able to comment on the specifics of the case but planned to meet with them sometime today.

Contact Barbara Ramirez at 886-3792 or ramirezb@ caller.com or contact Mary Ann Cavazos at 886-3623 or cavazosm@ caller.com


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