New Home for Boy in SUV With Allegedly ODing Grandma

Cops say grandma, friend used heroin then drove with 4-year-old in car
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2016 2:16 PM CDT
James Acord and Rhonda Pasek   (Columbiana County Jail)

(Newser) – Authorities have found a new home for a 4-year-old boy photographed in the backseat of an SUV while his grandma and her friend were apparently overdosing on heroin in the front seats, NBC News reports. According to USA Today, the photo was taken Sept. 7 by an Ohio police officer who stopped the SUV after it nearly hit a school bus. The boy's grandmother, 50-year-old Rhonda Pasek, and her friend, James Acord, passed out while talking to the officer; they were taken to the hospital and then arrested. The city of East Liverpool decided to publish the photo on Facebook to show the dangers of heroin. Making the photo public—with the boy's face clearly visible—was controversial, though a city official says 90% of feedback has been positive.

Pasek's sister, who has custody of the boy's 3-year-old brother, is part of the other 10%. She tells NBC that East Liverpool "humiliated my family and humiliated that little boy." "I'm not condoning what Rhonda done, but what they did to her and what they're doing to her grandson is too much," she says. Pasek had only had custody of the boy for six weeks prior to her arrest. Pasek's sister says the boy's father and his girlfriend couldn't take care of him because they have "no education, no jobs." The boy will now be moving to South Carolina to live with his great-aunt and great-uncle. A juvenile court administrator tells WKBN that no other family members offered to take custody of the boy. (Read more heroin stories.)

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