Mom charged with aggravated manslaughter in 1-year-old son's death

Deputies: Boy overdosed on prescription painkillers

Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Kathern Powell
Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Kathern Powell

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – A 41-year-old Middleburg mother was arrested Friday on a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child after investigators said her 23-month-old son died from an overdose of prescription painkillers.

Kathern Powell is also charged with culpable negligence in the death of her son, Dereck Powell, last month.

According to a police report from the Clay County Sheriff's Office, Powell found her son the morning of Dec. 7 in his crib lying face down with a fever and not breathing. Her immediate reaction was to take the boy to the shower to try to wake him up and bring his fever to a normal temperature, deputies said.

Dereck's father and grandfather performed CPR on him until rescuers arrived, deputies said. He was flown to Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, where he died a week later.

Investigators said Dereck's blood and urine samples showed he had opiates in his system. They said Powell confessed to something, but it was redacted from the report.

"According to the Jacksonville Poison Control Office, 4mg of Dilaudid is approximately ten (10) times the therapeutic dose for a child of this age," the report reads.

The Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide by acute bronchopneumonia following drug toxicity.

Powell was booked into the Clay County jail with bonds totaling $255,005.