Three weeks after a 2-year-old boy was found dead at his lower Bucks County home, his mother was arrested and accused of killing him with a prescription pill overdose in his sippy cup, authorities said.
Jennifer A. Clarey, 42, of Tullytown, who has been charged with criminal homicide, was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Bristol District Court and ordered held without bail.
"Plain and simple, this was a murder," District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said at a news conference in Tullytown's municipal building.
Clarey also has an older child, but authorities would not say whether she has custody.
Authorities allege Clarey intentionally poisoned her toddler, Mazikeen Curtis, with a lethal dose of hydrocodone, commonly known as Vicodin, at their home on Lovett Avenue on Aug. 25 and then slashed her wrists.
Initially, police gave the toddler's last name as Clarey. On Tuesday, authorities said the correct name was Curtis.
Bucks County Children and Youth Services employees had showed up at Clarey's home around 10:05 p.m. Aug. 25 to perform a wellness check on the toddler, according to a criminal complaint, but Clarey, who appeared "intoxicated," did not cooperate.
Youth Services employees then called Tullytown police, who knocked on the door of Clarey's house multiple times to no response, according to the criminal complaint. When police finally gained access to Clarey's house, they found the toddler's body on a bed. Blood was all over the bedding, according to the complaint.
"The child showed no signs of life, was stiff and cold to the touch," the complaint reads.
Weintraub said he believed the child had been dead for several hours before police and child services showed up.
Although authorities had said Mazikeen showed no outward signs of trauma, his brain was "swollen and dusky," a sign consistent with a drug overdose — in this case, hydrocodone and diphenhydramine, according to the complaint.
Clarey was hospitalized for her wrist injuries. She received numerous stitches in each arm, according to the complaint.
The next day, investigators found a knife and razor blades coated with blood, according to the complaint.
Investigators also found Clarey's prescription bottle for 120 hydrocodone pills in a locked strongbox, the complaint reads. The bottle was empty. They also found an empty 4-ounce bottle of children's Benadryl in the trash with the cap on. Weintraub said it was impossible for the toddler to have opened child-safe prescription bottles.
As police investigated the circumstances of the evening, they learned that a man had left Clarey's home that Saturday around 8:30 a.m., according to the complaint. When police contacted the man, he told them Mazikeen had been alive and watching television when he left. Clarey was also at home.
The identity of the man and his relationship to Clarey and the boy were not disclosed.
Clarey is the only person charged in the child's death. Authorities did not say whether more charges could be expected.
At the news conference, Weintraub said he couldn't identify a motive, although he said he didn't think the toddler's death was an accident.
"I believe it was certainly a killing with malice," he said, "which would make it a murder."