Free-Range Kids

5-Year-Old Has Meth Poisoning After Trick-or-Treating. It Probably Wasn't the Halloween Candy.

Braylen Carwell says he didn't eat anything, and previous candy poisonings turned out to be hoaxes.


Screenshot via WBNS

Five-year-old Braylen Carwell of Galion, Ohio, tested positive for meth after he returned from trick-or-treating. (Galion schedules the Halloween tradition on the last Sunday in October from 2 to 4 p.m.)

This is a strange case indeed. The boy says the only thing he put in his mouth from his stash of acquired Halloween goods was a pair of novelty teeth. Was there meth on the teeth? Did he eat a piece of candy he forgot or didn't mention, and that contained meth? Or did he ingest the meth from someplace else?

What we do know is that the boy told WBNS, "I was putting my socks on and then I started to shiver. And then I couldn't move my arm or my fingers. Until I got to the doctor's and I was sitting for a little bit, and then I could move my hand but not my fingers."

According to The Washington Post:

His father, Cambray Carwell, told investigating officers that he had taken his children trick-or-treating on the city's west side, according to a police report. When they got home, Carwell told police, the children removed their costumes — and Braylen "fell over having a seizure of some sort."

Braylen had eaten only a couple of pieces of candy, his father said, but had placed fake vampire teeth into his mouth before he started shaking.

Carwell said he threw the candy into the trash, and police drove to the father's house to book the child's Halloween haul into evidence. Carwell and Pence did not immediately return calls from The Washington Post seeking comment.

No one has been arrested in the drugging, and investigators have not identified a suspect, Galion Police Chief Brian Saterfield told The Post.

And then there's this: The parents admit they are recovering drug addicts, according to WBNS.

"I'm not covering up the truth," mom Julia Pence told WBNS on Monday. "I'm just speaking the truth of what happened to my son yesterday. Nobody in my family or [Braylen's] dad's family would drug my children."

There are two recorded cases of children dying from allegedly poisoned Halloween candy. The first instance involved a boy in Texas whose dad was $100,000 in debt and had just taken out an insurance policy on him. (Dad was convicted of the murder and executed in 1984.) The other involved a boy who obtained some of his uncle's heroin, and the family decided to assign blame elsewhere. They went so far as to sprinkle some heroin on his candy.

As for Braylen, I don't want to blame his parents and I am thrilled that they are in recovery. A case like this makes news because it is so extraordinarily rare—indeed, unheard of—for a child to get drugged or poisoned Halloween candy from a stranger. Even if someone, somehow, did give Braylen some meth, this does not mean all parents should be on the alert for poisoned treats, any more than drivers along the Long Island Expressway have to worry about getting hit by a frozen turkey, as one woman did years ago. Exceedingly rare cases are, well, exceedingly rare and shouldn't influence our daily life decisions.

The boy's mom warned other parents, "It's your duty to protect your children from everything. You can't protect them from everything. You just have to be aware and do the best that you can."

But one thing you don't have to protect them from is vampire teeth steeped in meth.