HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A mother arrested and charged with child abuse and neglect for putting rubbing alcohol in her baby's bottle called what she did an honest mistake. Henrico Police however said Tashell Alicia Coleman, 27, of Engleside Drive, told investigators a different story.
Police said Coleman brought her four-month-old son to the emergency room earlier this week when she noticed a difference in his behavior. Doctors determined the child had ingested rubbing alcohol and called police to investigate. Investigators determined Coleman had been mixing rubbing alcohol into her baby's bottle over the last two months in an effort to calm him down, Henrico Police spokesman Lt. Chris Eley said. He said Coleman said as much when police interviewed her.
But when asked about her arrest, Coleman told WTVR CBS 6 a different story. She emphatically denied intentionally giving her baby the rubbing alcohol. She said when a bottle of rubbing alcohol in her house broke, the child's father put the remaining alcohol inside a clear plastic water bottle for storage. She said later when she went to make the baby's bottle, she used the rubbing alcohol which she thought was plain water.
Coleman said when her baby started to cry and act funny, she took him to the hospital. She said she was shocked when doctors told her the baby had alcohol in his system. She said she loves her children and would never do anything to harm them. Both her infant son and three-year-old daughter were removed from Coleman's home and are in the care of family members.
Coleman, who is free on bond, was arraigned Thursday morning in Henrico Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court. She is due back in court for a preliminary hearing in May. She is not allowed to be in contact with her children pending the outcome of the case.
Lt. Eley said large doses of rubbing alcohol could be fatal to an infant. He said the police investigation determined Coleman had been giving her baby the rubbing alcohol for at least two months.