Virginia Woman Gets 7 Years in Toddler's Drug Death

Prosecutors: Two children found candy container containing suboxone in Kimberly Artis' bedroom

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013  |  Updated 9:10 AM EDT
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A Suffolk woman will spend more than seven years in prison on charges stemming from the drug-related death of her 2-year-old stepgranddaughter.

Kimberly Artis, 40, pleaded guilty last September to involuntary manslaughter and child neglect. She was sentenced Monday in Suffolk Circuit Court, reports the Virginian-Pilot.

Prosecutors say that in July 2011, as Artis, her boyfriend, and Destiny's stepfather drank and socialized in another room, Destiny Riddick and another child found a Mentos candy container under a pillow in Artis' bedroom.

The box contained suboxone, a narcotic often used to treat heroin addiction.

The little girl ingested an unknown amount of the drug, thinking it was candy, said Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney T. Marie Walls.

Destiny 's mother was at work at the time of the incident.

When Artis' boyfriend, Steven Wade Bullock, discovered the child had eaten the drug, he took her to Sentara Obici Hospital, where she was kept for observation for several hours and sent home.

Destiny's mother found the little girl unresponsive the next morning. She died of drug toxicity, Walls said.

Artis' seven-year sentence includes eight years with three suspended for involuntary manslaughter, and five years with three suspended for child neglect.

Circuit Judge Carl Eason also sentenced her to 12 months with six months suspended on possession of a controlled substance, and 12 months, all suspended, on a drug conspiracy charge.

Eason said that although Artis did not intend to harm the child, her "lack of willpower resulted in this tragic death."

Bullock was sentenced on similar charges last month to more than seven years in prison.

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