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Diabetic Arizona Boy Dies In State Custody After His Father Was Jailed On Drug Possession Charges

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Arizona boy dies

A diabetic 9-year-old died in state custody while his father was in jail on a drug possession charge, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

According to the report, single father Richard Blodgett is demanding answers after he received a visit in jail from a worker from Arizona’s child welfare agency who delivered the news: His son was brain dead and on life support — just days after being taken into state custody.

Blodgett screamed, cried and screamed some more, and is struggling to understand how it happened. Jakob was his only son, a “darn cute,” curious 9-year-old who loved remote control cars and video games.

“A medical examiner listed Jakob’s death in late December as natural with complications from diabetes, a condition he was diagnosed with as a toddler. Specifically, Type 1 diabetes, which means his body was unable to produce enough insulin to survive,” the AP reported.

“Blodgett said he suspects the Arizona Department of Child Safety failed in its duty to protect his son, either by not monitoring his blood sugar levels or not ensuring that Jakob had enough insulin to prevent a serious, life-threatening complication known as ketoacidosis.”

Blodgett claims he only ever used the drugs that landed him in prison to self-medicate his pain.

“Jakob and his father had been living at a motel when Blodgett was arrested in December. Blodgett, who already had a drug case pending and has spent time in prison, said was operating a backhoe much of the day and pulled over at a gas station to take a nap,” said the report.

“Officers wrote that they suspected Blodgett nodded off as a result of drug use,” the report states, adding that authorities ultimately found a cache of fentanyl pills in Blodgett’s possession.

Blodgett was arrested and charged with one count of drug possession, Navajo County Superior Court documents show.

The distraught father told the AP he had been using fentanyl for pain management after he dropped 300 pounds with weight loss surgery. ‘I wasn’t getting high. I wasn’t abusing them. I was using them to be able to work and provide for my son.'”

Arizona officials are not commenting on the death. According to the report, however, it is part of a pattern.

“In the fiscal year that ended last June, about 26 children died while in the agency’s custody, including from overdoses, medical conditions, natural and still undetermined causes. In the previous fiscal year, that number was 14. The figures amount to a fatality rate of about 97 per 100,000 children during that period” — almost double the rate for children in the general population of Arizona.

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