State News

12-Year-Old Dies of Suspected Methadone Overdose

Posted April 28, 2008 7:59 a.m. EDT
Updated April 28, 2008 6:33 p.m. EDT

— The Department of Social Services is investigating the death of a 12-year-old boy who authorities believe died from a drug overdose.

Caleb Wayne Bevil died Saturday at WakeMed in Raleigh, three days after he was found unconscious in his Sampson County home, authorities said.

Capt. Eric Pope, of the Sampson County Sheriff's Office, said an unidentified person called 911 last Wednesday morning to get help to Caleb.

"The mother was performing CPR on the 12-year-old," Pope said the caller reported. "(The boy was) not breathing, (and) his mouth and tongue were blue. And then (the caller) hung up."

Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said it appears Caleb took methadone pills. The drug is a painkiller that also is used to help heroin addicts break their drug addiction.

"The night before, the mother's boyfriend had reported his methadone had been taken from the residence," Pope said, adding that authorities were investigating how Caleb got the pills.

Caleb lived with his mother, Tina Lynn, and her boyfriend, James Hardee, and three siblings – a 16-year-old boy and girls age 8 and 2 – at 1010 Timothy Road near Dunn. The other children were in DSS custody Monday.

Hardee had a prescription for methadone, but authorities weren't sure why, Pope said.

Investigators are awaiting autopsy results before filing any charges, he said, declining to say what charges could be filed in the case.

Neighbor Jesse Phillips said deputies have visited the home next door several times to break up fights between Lynn and Hardee. He called Caleb a friendly boy who always waved at him.

"Him and this little guy (in the neighborhood) played together all the time. They were just so close," Phillips said. "I know it's just a heartbreaking thing for that little ol' boy for him to be gone."