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Friend: Largo toddler ingesting methadone a "freak accident"

10:50 PM, Jun 18, 2012   |    comments
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LARGO, Fla. - Danae Barberee, 24, has been arrested after detectives say her 14-month-old son stopped breathing because he swallowed some methadone.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, it happened Saturday sometime between 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the family's home in the 3500 block of Camelia Place.

One of Barberee's friends, who didn't want to reveal her identity, said, "He wasn't breathing as much as he should and his lips were purple."

She added, "She's really good with her kids. She don't even so much as slap her kid on the hand."

She said she wants everyone to know what detectives said happened inside her friends home couldn't have been intentional. "It's a freak accident. It could have happened to anybody. It could happen to somebody in the suburbs who has all the money in the world. It could happen to anybody."

But investigators with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office see it differently. They're accusing the stay-at-home mom of child neglect and violation of probation on a drug charge after her child had to be rushed to the hospital.

They say Barberee knew the child ingested the drug and initially did nothing over a period of several hours to help him.

The addictive narcotic is used in many instances in the treatment of drug addiction. There is no word on if that's why Barberee had it in the home. Since 2009, though, she's been arrested on three drug charges.

Her friend said, "I don't know how long she'd been on methadone, but from what I see she is a good parent. I've never seen her do anything wrong."

She added that her friend was trying to turn her life around and she doesn't think Barberee will get the treatment she needs now that she's locked up. "I know for a fact they won't give that to her in jail."

The little boy, she said, is doing much better. "They took the tube out of his throat and he's eating and drinking fine, sitting up, playing around, and stuff."

Danae Barberee is a mother of two. She has a 4-year-old daughter. That child lives with her grandmother.

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