Child dies from dose of Benadryl so strong it could ‘kill an adult,’ SC deputies say

A couple in South Carolina were arrested following a five-month investigation into the death of their 6-year-old son, deputies said.

Spartanburg County deputies were called to a home in Greer on Oct. 30, 2022, for an unresponsive child. The boy, weighed 45 pounds at age 6, was taken to a hospital and died, prompting an investigation, according to a March 31 news release from the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.

The parents, identified as Sarah Elizabeth Stewart, 32, and Christopher Allen Stewart, 48, told authorities that their son fell off a chair, hit his head on the floor and suffered a seizure, the sheriff’s office said.

But the toxicology report told a different story and both parents are now charged, according to the release.

It was determined the boy died from a Benadryl overdose and had “enough Benadryl in his system to kill an adult male,” the sheriff’s office said. In addition to the toxicology report, an autopsy found that the child was healing from multiple bruises.

The South Carolina Department of Social Services had received numerous child abuse referrals regarding the victim, and a search warrant found he had been living in “filthy conditions,” the release said.

Investigators interviewed both parents and learned that the mother said she gave the boy Benadryl because “he was hyperactive,” according to deputies.

“After … meetings with both the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Solicitor’s Office, it was determined that probable cause existed to charge both parents with the death of their child,” the sheriff’s office said in the release.

Sarah Elizabeth Stewart was charged with homicide by child abuse and unlawful neglect of a child, and Christopher Allen Stewart is charged with unlawful neglect of a child, according to the release. Both were booked into the Spartanburg County detention facility.

Greer is about 100 miles northwest of Columbia.

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