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Prosecutors: THC gummies killed Virginia 4-year-old

Dorothy Clements faced a Spotsylvania County judge Monday on murder and child neglect charges in the death of her 4-year-old son, Tanner.

SPOTSYLVANIA COURTHOUSE, Va. — New details were revealed in court Monday in the death of a 4-year-old, whose mother is charged with his murder. 

At the Spotsylvania County Courthouse, Dorothy Clements repeatedly shook her head in disagreement with prosecutors' allegations she was solely responsible for the death of her 4 year old son. The prosecutors are alleging that Clements' 4-year-old son, Tanner, ate up to 15 Delta-8 THC gummies; the dosage and brand has not been revealed.

Police report finding a jar that Clements allegedly bought May 6, the same day her son ate the gummies. Clements has admitted to eating five gummies. The jar was empty when police found it, according to prosecutors, leading them to believe Tanner ate the rest. 

Delta-8 THC gummies contain a compound, similar to marijuana, that can get you high. Doctors report finding an "extremely high" amount of THC in Tanner's system after his death. 

After her son's death in May, Clements talked to WUSA9 over the phone saying she thought she had bought harmless CBD gummies from a Fredericksburg store. Clements said had no idea the gummies she bought actually contained THC. 

In that interview she told WUSA9, unbeknownst to her, Tanner ate one or two gummies. When he started showing difficulty breathing, she said she called poison control.

Prosecutors allege Clements lied about the call to poison control and the number of gummies. But the toddler's mother and her attorney say other medical factors-- including a heart problem and obesity -- contributed to Tanners' death and that she is not responsible. 

County prosecutors responded that Tanner's 116-pound weight at age four and lack of pediatrician visits in two years was a sign of child neglect. Clements' attorney countered that she did not have primary custody of Tanner at the time of his death.

In drug tests after her son's death, Clements tested positive for multiple substances, according to prosecutors, Clements, and she admitted to "relapsing after the tragedy of her son's death."

"So much for marijuana being harmless," Spotsylvania County Circuit Court Judge Ricardo Rigual said before denying Clements' request to be released on bond. 

While Delta 8 THC is not marijuana, it has similar effects, meaning this case could have wide-ranging impacts for the artificial THC industry in Virginia and beyond.

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