Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Emaciated Boy Found in Trailer Fire, Father Arrested for Neglect

Darin MacDannald

Darin MacDannald

Emergency personnel were called to the scene of a fire on July 3, 2012, in Deerfield Beach, Fla., when Darin MacDannald’s trailer caught fire. On entering the structure they found his son, 14, who was suffering from smoke inhalation and weighed only 85 pounds. The unresponsive child was transported to the Coral Springs Medical Center, where they found much more.

According to the police report the boy had “unexplained red blotches” on his legs that the examining physician determined were not caused by the fire, also he “had pinpointed pupils and was… under the influence of some type of drug or drugs. A drug screen of [his] blood and urine tested positive for barbiturates, opiates, cocaine, and marijuana.” Finally, physicians decided that the boy, who was filthy, had overdosed. Hospital personnel found in the boy’s possession a cigarette, barbiturates, codeine, oxycodone, Xanax and a red makeup case that later tested positive for cocaine. When asked, MacDannald said the pills were his, that he has a prescription for them, and that he hid them from his son. MacDannald didn’t know that his son had the pills or cocaine. Police determined that MacDannald failed to provide the care necessary to “maintain proper health.” He was arrested and charged with child neglect. Bail was set at $7,500, and he is not to have any contact with his son.

In a depressing aside, CBS Miami quoted some of the boy’s neighbors who noticed the problem, but said and did nothing, saying, “We noticed it. But that was between them,” and “I don’t know. I worry about mine and that’s it.” The investigation is ongoing.

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