Mom found dead, Dad ODs at Children’s – Cincinnati.com
Wesley Landers’Â stance and posture were unchanged forÂ most of hisÂ Friday arraignment until his wife was mentioned.
At that moment, Landers dropped his head, closed his eyes and leaned against the lectern in front of him.
His wife â Mary Landers, 31, of Trinity, Alabama,Â was found dead ThursdayÂ of an apparent overdose in theÂ Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center room of theirÂ 7-month-old daughter.
Wesley Landers, also of Trinity, was found unresponsive in the bathroomÂ withÂ a heroin syringe in his arm, needles strewn on sink,Â and a loaded and chambered handgun in his pants pocket, according to court documents.
Police were called to the hospitalÂ around 11:30Â a.m., according to the Cincinnati Police Department.
Wesley LandersÂ was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for treatment and was arrested onÂ charges of possession of drugs, carrying a concealed weapon, having weapons while under disability and possessing drug abuse instruments.
Facebook and GoFundMe pages linked to the Landers showÂ they were in Cincinnati seeking medical treatment for their daughter. Posts state the family was seeking assistance with coveringÂ out-of-pocket expenses for surgery the baby was undergoing onÂ Wednesday.
As Wesley Landers was arraigned on the charges in Hamilton County Municipal Court onÂ Friday, Judge Curt Kissinger said, “If the heroin epidemic has exhibited itself in a more tragic form, I haven’t seen it.”
Newtown Police Chief Thomas Synan Jr., who works with the Hamilton County Heroin Coalition and Task Force, said localÂ law enforcement deals with cases like this every single day.
“It’s not necessarily shocking, but more heartbreaking and frustrating,” Synan said, explaining this particular case is high profile because of the location and the circumstance. “We’re definitely not numb. Every law enforcement officer is so passionate about ending the stranglehold that heroin has on the region.”
The task force, which became operational last June, facilitates communication between law enforcement agencies in the area including local, state and federal organizations.
Synan said the task force’s 10 investigators work backward from the time of an overdose death in order to find the people selling the heroin.
So far, the investigators have worked 69 cases, 52 of which have been overdose deaths, Synan said.
It’s very painful for families and communities to grapple with heroin addiction, Synan said.
“You’re not dealing with the person you knew as a child or as your son or daughter,” he said. “The brain has been changed. You’re looking at the face of addiction, at the face of heroin.”
Judge Kissinger set bond for Wesley Landers at $500,000, sayingÂ he weighed heavily that Landers is now a single father. Bond amount could be revisited in coming days, Kissinger said.
The prosecution said Landers had a prior fraud conviction and a failure to appear charge out of Lawrence County in Alabama. Officials in Morris County, Alabama, where Trinity is located, reported he was convicted in 2008 onÂ misdemeanor charges for possession of marijuana and unlawfully carrying a firearm.
It is unclear if there are measures in place to prevent people from carrying firearms intoÂ Children’s Hospital.Â In a statement, officials said “patient safetyÂ is a top priority and taken very seriously. We are committed to doing everything we can to care for and protect the children and families we serve.
We have trained and experienced security personnel at all of our campuses. We have a Cincinnati Police officer at the main location 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Cincinnati Childrenâs also has longstanding and positive relationships with local police departments at all campus locations.
We are always reevaluating our security measures to ensure the safety of our patients.”
Chief Dan Mathew of the Covington, Ky. Fire Department is on the front lines of the heroin epidemic. He describes what he sees when responding to overdoses. Produced by Carrie Cochran
The Enquirer/Carrie Cochran