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Father allegedly injects 4-year-old son with drugs

A 37-year-old Redmond man reportedly injected his 4-year-old son with heroin and other drugs. The father and child suffered overdoses, and the father was charged with attempted murder, assault of a child and drug possession.

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overdoseSEATTLE — A Redmond man accused of injecting his 4-year-old son with heroin was arraigned in court Thursday.

Eric Lehtinen, 37, entered a not guilty plea to attempted murder.  According to charging documents, doctors found a dangerous mix of heroin, ketamine, morphine and other drugs in the boy’s system.  They don’t know if he’ll suffer long-term damage.

The boy’s father could be sentenced up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.  He remains in the King County Jail with bail at $3 million.

Police and first aid units responded to the family’s home on N.E. 72nd street in Redmond on Sept. 24. The boy’s mom called 911 when she found both her husband and her 4-year-old son passed out but breathing.

heroin od redmond1SEATTLE — First-degree attempted murder, assault of a child and drug possession charges have been filed against a 37-year-old Redmond man after he allegedly injected his 4-year-old son with heroin.

King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg filed the charges Friday.

Police were called to Eric Lehtinen’s home on Sept. 24 after his wife found him and their son unconscious. Lehtinen’s wife said she went to the home after she couldn’t reach Eric. The couple is estranged — their divorce was being finalized that day — but the young boy had spent the night at his father’s. As part of the divorce agreement she had asked that Eric submit to drug tests in order to see their son; Eric had asked her to delay the divorce.

When she arrived at the home, she told police she found Eric and her son sleeping in a bed and that when she lifted a blanket off her son, she saw a needle with a dark liquid in it on his chest. She took a photo of her son with her cell phone and then attempted to wake him, but he was unresponsive. She also tried to wake Eric, but he was also unresponsive so she called 911.

The boy was taken to Seattle Children’s Hospital and doctors determined he had heroin, ketamine, morphine, codeine, norketaminea and lidocaine in his system. Doctors said they do not know if he will suffer any long-term side effects or damage from the overdose.

Lehtinen is also being treated for an overdose at Evergreen Hospital. Charging documents state he was not cooperating with police in regard to providing them with details as to what happened.

Charging documents state that Lehtinen took advantage of his son’s age and vulnerability when he injected him with the drug. Satterberg requested that Lehtinen’s bail be set at $3 million, alleging that he is a serious flight risk. It was also ordered that he have no contact with his son. The documents also state Lehtinen is a heroin addict and a reported drug dealer; $12,000 was found laying in the open when police arrived at the home.

In July Lehtinen was transported by medics for a drug overdose and in 2005 he had been involuntarily committed for attempting to kill himself while he was withdrawing from heroin.

If Lehtinen is found guilty, he could face 15 years in prison.

REDMOND, Wash. — What police believe happened in the house with the overgrown yard on Northeast 72nd Street in Redmond is unimaginable and heartbreaking, even for seasoned police officers who thought they’d seen it all.

“Never, no. In 35 years as a police officer I’ve never run across anything like this,” Redmond police Lt. Charlie Gorman said.

heroin od redmond1And this is how neighbors reacted to the news.

“I just don’t understand how messed up you have to be to inject your 4-year-old with heroin.  Never heard of anything like this, never even had the thought cross my mind of anything like this happening in the world,” neighbor Alex Marchand said Tuesday.

Investigators say the mom came home just before noon and found her husband and 4-year-old son unconscious but still breathing.

She called 911 and emergency responders found that father and son appeared to have been injected with heroin. Both were taken to area hospitals and were listed in stable condition.

“There were injectable paraphernalia on the scene that we’ve located consistent with heroin use,” Gorman said.

Police don’t believe anyone else was involved and they aren’t looking for anyone else.

Neighbors say the father has battled drug abuse in the past but they never thought he would hurt his son.

“It’s sad. That’s kind of heartbreaking news,” neighbor Karla Busenbark said.

“I was shocked. This doesn’t happen in my neighborhood. Everybody says that, but this is my neighborhood,” Tyler Marchand said.

Police are investigating the case as an assault on a child and searched the house for evidence.

Meanwhile, neighbors said they would pray for the boy’s speedy recovery.

“It’s extremely tragic, I suppose, but it’s kind of a messed-up world we live in. We wish the little one the best and the family as well,” Alex and Tyler Marchand said.

Heroin has a wide variety of negative effects on the body and an overdose can be fatal.  Injecting the drug can expose users to hepatitis and HIV, but experts say that, without knowing how many times a child this young has been exposed to the drug, it’s hard to tell how much damage has been done to the boy.

heroin od redmond1SEATTLE — Redmond police said a 37-year-old man and his 4-year-old son were taken to a local hospital for a suspected overdose of heroin.

Firefighters and police responded to a home in the 14100 block of NE 72nd Street at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday after receiving a call from the boy’s mother. The woman had come home and found her husband and son breathing, but unconscious.

Police said drug paraphernalia was found at the home and it appeared as if the father and son had been injected with heroin.

The two are reported to be in stable condition.

Redmond police are conducting an investigation into the incident.

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