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Gastonia grandmother arrested after 9-month-old grandson ingests opium

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Pamela Cavender and Nick Huffstetler (WSOC photo)

GASTONIA, N.C. — A Gastonia grandmother and her boyfriend were arrested and charged with felony child abuse Tuesday after police said they gave her 9-month-old grandson opium, leaving him with brain damage.

Pamela Cavender was babysitting her grandson at her Gastonia home last month, when she crushed an adult prescription pill and gave it to the then 8-month-old boy, according to WSOC.

His breathing slowed and she called 911.

He stopped breathing by the time a neighbor came outside.

“She said he was completely dead and they were bringing him back to life,” the neighbor said.

She said Cavender didn’t want to get in the ambulance, but medics forced her to with her grandson.

“The driver said, ‘I don’t care. Get in the ambulance, you are going with us,” the neighbor told WSOC.

Police said when doctors in Gastonia prepared to fly the baby to the hospital, they couldn’t find the grandmother or her boyfriend, Nick Hustetler.

Police said the grandmother and her boyfriend ran away after learning the baby tested positive for opium.

The couple was arrested Monday night, after two weeks on the run.

Read more at WSOC