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Little boy gets new home, grandma heads to court after viral overdose photo

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EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio - A little boy who was seen in a viral photo sitting in the backseat of an SUV while two adults overdosed in the front seat had a great upbringing, according to his great-grandmother.

Barbara McCullough, 84, spoke exclusively with Fox 8 News, saying she raised the little boy for most of his life, but that his grandmother, Rhonda Pasek, 50, was recently awarded custody because of McCullough's age.

The child's mother battled with drug use, which is why McCullough was awarded custody when he was a baby.

His grandmother Pasek was the woman passed out in the front seat of the car, along with James Acord, 47.

McCullough said she is very upset that people believe the child was raised in that kind of environment.

"With the idea this child has lived like this daily, that's what East Liverpool Police said."

She wants people to know that he's a happy little boy and that she and her family in East Liverpool will visit him in Myrtle Beach where he will now be living with his great-aunt and great-uncle.

McCullough said the little boy doesn't fully know what happened that day, but he knows something was wrong.

Police initially posted the photos on their Facebook page, hoping it would send a message to drug users.

"This child can't speak for himself but we are hopeful his story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody," the Facebook post read.

Pasek is awaiting trial and Acord is already serving 360 days in jail for operating a vehicle while intoxicated and endangering children. She is due in East Liverpool Municipal Court Thursday for a pretrial hearing.

Pasek has pleaded not guilty to endangering a child, disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

Last week, a police officer spotted a car weaving erratically between lanes, according to an affidavit.

Acord was trying to tell the officer that he was transporting Pasek to the hospital, when he lost consciousness.

Paramedics administered Narcan, an opiate reversal agent, to Pasek, who was turning blue, according to an affidavit. The pair "almost definitely" would have died had police not intervened, East Liverpool service safety director Brian Allen had told CNN.

Acord pleaded no contest to operating a vehicle while impaired and endangering a child. He was sentenced last week to 360 days in jail, had his driver's license suspended for three years and was fined $475.


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