Katie Mulkey left her son with a babysitter and went to work—but her boy was dead by the end of the day. Police say unlicensed caregiver Lori Conley is to blame for giving 8-month-old Haddix Mulkey a drug he never should have taken, ABC News reports. Authorities say Mulkey dropped off Haddix at Conley's home in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, on May 13, and during the day Conley quieted Haddix with a dose of the allergy medication Benadryl. Conley, who was babysitting eight toddlers and infants, later found him unresponsive and hysterically rushed him outside seeking help—but responding paramedics couldn't revive him, police tell the Columbus Dispatch. A toxicology report released Friday found that Haddix died from a deadly dose of Benadryl.
Conley "told detectives the child was fussy and that she gave him an adult dose of Benadryl to help him sleep," says a police sergeant. Benadryl boxes include the warning, "Children under 6: DO NOT USE" (as does the online guide), so Conley, 43, was charged with murder and child endangering, WBNS-10TV reports. But Mulkey says the real story is about Haddix—the birthdays he'll never have and the steps he'll never take. "I will always have a broken heart because a piece of me is gone," she says. "We had so many hopes and dreams for him and now it's all gone." She also says his death should serve as a warning against reckless medicating. "This is a common practice that people think it's OK to give your babies medicine ... to help them sleep," she explains. "This didn't have to happen." (Another mom died in a car crash on the way to give birth—but her baby lived.)