Toddler who drowned in a backyard pool while in foster care may have been DRUGGED the day before he died
- Category: Child abuse industry deaths in NSW
- Created: Saturday, 28 October 2017 16:52
- Written by Kate Darvall and Sam Duncan - Daily Mail Australia
- Toddler who died in foster care might have been drugged, a court has heard
- The court heard on Wednesday Braxton's foster parents pretended to be a couple when at the time, despite having been separated for two years.
- The couple relied on the money they were given from the state to look after the three-year-old, because they were both unemployed, the court heard.
- The 22-month-old boy died just three weeks after being placed into foster care
- He drowned in the unsafe backyard pool of his foster home in September 2014
- Inquest heard he might have been given antihistamine tablets by foster mother
Three-year-old Braxton Slager might have been drugged the day before he drowned in his foster family's backyard swimming pool, an inquest has heard.
Braxton was in the care of temporary foster parents for just three weeks when he died in an unsafe pool at the Stanhope Gardens in Sydney's northwest in September 2014.
Now three years on, a court has heard Braxton was allegedly given two antihistamine tablets - which can cause drowsiness - the day before he died, the court heard.
The 22-month-old was found with the drug in his blood stream after he died, Seven News reported.
The court heard a relative of Braxton's foster mother, Julie Tarlinton, reportedly told the police Ms Tarlinton asked about giving the boy sleeping tablets in an attempt to calm him down.
Ms Tarlinton denied the claim when questioned by detectives.
The court heard on Wednesday Braxton's foster parents pretended to be a couple when at the time, despite having been separated for two years.
The couple relied on the money they were given from the state to look after the three-year-old, because they were both unemployed, the court heard.
A coronial inquest has been underway to determine whether systemic failures contributed to boy's death, Nine News reported.
Braxton Slager (pictured with biological father Johnny Slager) was only 22-months old when he died in an unsafe pool at his foster home in Stanhope Gardens in Sydney's northwest in September 2014
Braxton's biological parents Johnny Slager and Vanessa Naumovska broke down outside court on Monday.
'He was a beautiful little boy, he loved to go outside playing. He liked riding his bike and running around playing with his ball,' Mr Slager said.
'He was just your average high-spirited little kid.'
'We just want justice for our little boy. He didn't deserve to die especially when he was in a home that was supposed to be safe for him,' said Ms Naumovska.
The court heard a relative of Braxton's foster mother, Julie Tarlinton (pictured centre), reportedly told the police Ms Tarlinton asked about giving the boy sleeping tablets in an attempt to calm him down
Braxton was placed into foster care after his father reached out to the Department of Family and Community Services for help while he withdrew from methadone.
His mother was allegedly not eligible for custody due to drug problems of her own.
Life Without Barriers was contracted by the department to conduct safety checks on Braxton's new home.
Despite photos from the home showing it in a squalid state, Life Without Barriers had approved it a year earlier.
The pool had a broken gate, was unregistered and did not meet safety standards, and both the home and its yard were littered with tools, beer cans and dangerous objects.
Life Without Barriers staff only did full-home inspections once every three years, and during their monthly checks never went beyond a front room.
Braxton's carer claimed she was on Facebook when she noticed the sliding door was open.
She then found the little boy outside, face down and blue in the pool.
Although a Careflight helicopter was called to the home, Braxton could not be resuscitated.