Mom faces 20 years in prison after baby’s Benadryl death

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LOUISA COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - A mother has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and felony child neglect in the March 2013 death of her six-month-old son, Louisa Commonwealth’s Attorney Rusty McGuire said.

Tristan T. Goodwin, 32, could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison during her sentencing hearing in May.

Tyler died in March 2013 from a lethal dose of Benadryl

Tyler died in March 2013 from a lethal dose of Benadryl

Goodwin was arrested in December 2013 last year when an autopsy revealed her son Tyler died after he was given a lethal dose of Benadryl. Tyler's March death was initially ruled a SIDS related death.

"During Goodwin’s interview with members of the Louisa County Sheriff’s Office she admitted to providing Benadryl to her baby over the objection of the father," McGuire wrote in an email. "She initially misled detectives by stating a doctor and the box said it was okay to give Benadryl to the baby. In a follow up interview, she acknowledged that no doctor told her that but instead she alleged she heard the information from a friend."

Benadryl boxes inspected by investigators all said not to give the drug to babies, McGuire said.

Brian Firth

Brian Firth, baby Tyler's father

“I don’t think she meant to do it,” Brian Firth, the infant’s father, told CBS 6 reporter Shelby Brown after the arrest. “I know Tristan better than anyone else in this world including her own family.”

Firth said Tyler was teething and had a runny nose when Goodwin gave him the medication.

“She said she gave Benadryl to her other babies and I told her she’s damn lucky it didn’t kill the other kids,” Firth said.


    • Shana

      I’m not saying what she did was smart, but you have apparently never been a sleep deprived and desperate parent. I didn’t sleep the first six months of my child’s life and probably made some stupid choices. Don’t judge her if you don’t know the entire story.

      • jenny

        I agree. I’ve made some boneheaded choices as an exhausted parent, that fortunately did not have tragic results. I really don’t think she intended any harm to her child, and as such, having to live with her consequence will be punishment enough. Putting her in prison won’t bring back that child, nor do her any good except to rub salt in the wound and make others feel justified.

      • Joe

        Actually, I know quite well what it’s like, I have a child turning three in May, and one that just turned six months.

        Never in any stretch of my imagination have I thought of drugging my child in order to get quiet, nor would I consider dosing a child with a drug that’s not recommended for their use. Fever? There’s infant tylenol (liquid suspended acetaminophen).

        Beyond that? Seek medical advice.

        Frankly, some of the responses freak me out, what do you people do, beat your kids?

  • Paula Kennedy

    If she didn’t mean to harm her child, what a tragedy!!!! Plenty of people never pay attention to medication labels and this is the end result. So sad for this little boy!!

  • Steel Mill

    This sounds like an overwhelmed mother. The death of her child is penalty enough.
    Let her walk.

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