Woman arrested after grandson given fatal dose of methadone

Brett Taylor Aitken, 59, charged with aggravated manslaughter

By Corley Peel - Reporter

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - A grandmother was arrested Thursday, months after her 15-month-old grandson received a fatal dosage of methadone, according to a release from the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Brett Taylor Aitken, 59, of St. Augustine was charged with aggravated manslaughter. She was booked into the St. Johns County Jail.

According to the Sheriff's Office, investigators were first called Dec. 22, 2018, to a home on Cypress Road to investigate a child's death. An autopsy performed by the medical examiner's office later determined the grandson's death was caused by "methadone toxicity."

The Sheriff's Office said the grandmother, who had custody of the child, placed methadone from someone else's prescription into the child's prescribed allergy medication bottle. According to investigators, she had unlawfully taken the pills after the death of the patient who had been prescribed the medication.

Aitken, the Sheriff's Office said, told deputies she had forgotten that she transferred the medication and gave the child what she believed was allergy medication. In an arrest affidavit, she stated that she had placed it in the bottle "for a rainy day."

"I don't even know what to say about that," said Chester Ratcliff, a neighbor. "What rainy day could there have been?"

Aitken was ordered held on a $100,000 bond.

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