Oct 11, 2016 4:48 PM
HAMPTON - The stepfather of the 19-month-old child who died last week was arraigned Tuesday morning on child endangerment and drug charges, as police say the child may have been exposed to fentanyl.
Leo Witham, 30, was held on $25,000 cash-only bail after his video arraignment at the 10th Circuit District Division Court in Seabrook. He is charged with misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child by purposely violating a duty of care, as well as two felonies: possession of a controlled drug and falsifying physical evidence.
According to court documents, Witham had "packing that contained the drug fentanyl open and accessible to the child" in their residence at 86 Ashworth Ave., No. 6 in Hampton, which is a room at the Westport Motel.
Police also said Witham concealed a bottle of the sedative Lorazapam under a blanket on the child's bed, allegedly after he learned police were investigating the child's death.
However, there is no direct connection at this time between the drugs and the toddler's death. Still, police are not ruling the drugs out as a cause.
"That is a possibility," said Hampton Police Chief Richard Sawyer. "Again, that's why we are awaiting the toxicology results before we make the determination as to whether there will be further charges."
Sawyer added an autopsy has been conducted on the toddler. In court, Prosecutor Sgt. Alex Reno said they will seek more severe charges depending on the results of that report.
"The investigation is ongoing," Sawyer added. "We're speaking to everybody we can that might've had contact [with Witham]. Usually, when these cases happen, an unattended death, we try and go back at least 24 hours in the person's history to find out who they had contact [with] and what could've caused the situation to occur."
Police said they think Witham was with the toddler -- who has been identified in an obituary as Bradyn J.M. Brewer -- before he became unresponsive. They also said Witham was the one who took the unresponsive child to the nearby Hampton Fire Department for help.
The toddler was taken by emergency medical crews to Exeter Hospital, where he later died.
"We actually had contact with him the morning of that incident," Sawyer said. "He was very distraught, child was unresponsive, and [he was] trying to make arrangements to get transport to the hospital."
Witham's wife, who is Brewer's mother, was not at the scene when the incident occurred.
"We were told by his wife that he had instructed her not to notify the police where he was," Reno said in court. "She then told us that he was staying in the town of Seabrook. We later determined that was false and that he had actually fled to the state of Massachusetts where he was hiding."
Witham was arrested on Friday and taken to the Rockingham County Jail, where he remains until his probable cause hearing, scheduled for Oct. 19.
In court Tuesday, Witham was visibly upset.
"He's just trying to process all of this," said Deanna Campbell, Witham's public defender. "He's obviously very distraught. As history would indicate, there's a drug problem that we would like to get some help for."
During the arraignment, Reno explained Witham's previous convictions and time served at a house of corrections, spanning from 2003 to 2014 and including burglary, possession of a controlled substance, and felon in possession of a dangerous weapon, among others.
Reno also said Witham's 6-year-old son has been placed in foster care by the Department of Children, Youth and Families.
17 hours 59 minutes agoA man had to be airlifted to a Boston hospital after getting assaulted outside 603 Bar and Lounge in Dover NH. (More)
18 hours 25 minutes agoA Manchester man who assaulted a family member and locked himself in a bedroom was arrested after a brief standoff on Saturday. (More)
18 hours 30 minutes agoThe head of NH's Democratic party is ending his bid to lead the nation's Democrats. Ray Buckley is endorsing Keith Ellison of Minnesota for...
22 hours 14 minutes agoCONCORD – According to a new national poll, voters are pretty much divided over whether they have more trust in the Trump White House or the reporters that cover the administration. Do you have more trust in the Trump administration or news media? https://t.co/8txcbpOj0N — NH1 News Network...
Feb 17, 2017 10:10 AMWBIN-TV announced today that it has been sold to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a recently completed auction. The total proceeds from the complex transaction are estimated to be nearly $100 million dollars. In a process called the “Spectrum Auction”, the FCC is purchasing local TV stations and...
Feb 17, 2017 9:07 AMThe state Supreme Court has denied the request for a new trial in the case of convicted murderer Robert Breest. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 5:32 PMA Manchester mother was arrested after police said she stabbed her 16-month-old daughter in the back, causing serious injury. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 4:06 PMTwo Rhode Island men have been arrested in connection with the theft of $90,000 worth of diapers. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 2:40 PMLast month, New Hampshire State Police, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, linked Evans to cold cases dating back 30 years in Allenstown....
Feb 16, 2017 1:49 PMPresident Donald Trump says he's chosen R. Alexander Acosta to be labor secretary a day after Trump's first nominee withdrew. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 1:35 PMA 35-year-old man was run over by a fellow snowmobiler leaving him unconscious and bleeding. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 1:25 PMThe family of a Canterbury man killed by police in 2015 is suing the officers who shot him after the New Hampshire Attorney General...
Feb 16, 2017 12:17 PMNew Hampshire will not become the next so-called right to work state. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 12:15 PMA man accused of selling heroin at a Salem Burger King was arrested, along with the woman who drove him to the fast food...
Feb 16, 2017 9:30 AMA Manchester mother was arrested for stabbing her sixteen-month-old daughter in the back, causing serious injury. (More)
Feb 16, 2017 7:54 AMSnow will gradually taper off across the north country by this afternoon, with just a chance for some snow showers tonight. (More)
Feb 15, 2017 11:52 PMNH1 meteorologist Joe Joyce has an inside look at the weather forecast for Thursday February 16, 2017. (More)
Feb 15, 2017 7:04 PMIt was business as usual for Alderman Thomas Katsiantonis, who showed up to hear Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas deliver his FY2018 budget address a...
Feb 15, 2017 5:26 PMSnow capped roofs may look pretty, but they could be a disaster looming above your head. How much that snow weighs may surprise you....
Feb 15, 2017 5:20 PMThe brother of one of the women stabbed to death in Farmington in January opens up about his family's grieving process and honors Christine...
Feb 15, 2017 4:31 PMA narrow band of heavy snow is expected to develop Wednesday night, and will dump several inches of snow on eastern New Hampshire. (More)
Feb 15, 2017 3:19 PMTrack tonight's snow on NH1 Futurecast. (More)
Feb 15, 2017 1:40 PMThe American Red Cross announced the community members that will be honored as extraordinary New Hampshire citizens during the 2017 “Everyday Heroes Awards.” (More)
Feb 15, 2017 12:30 PMA former employee of DCYF filed a lawsuit against her former employer on Jan. 27, with up to 20 separate complaints. (More)
Feb 15, 2017 10:42 AMIn 3-2 party-line vote, the New Hampshire Executive Council confirms Frank Edelblut as Education Commissioner. (More)
Feb 15, 2017 10:33 AM41-year-old Robert Young and his 6-year-old daughter died when a storm with 75 mph winds blew through the Lancaster Fairgrounds, toppling the tent. (More)
Feb 14, 2017 10:41 PMEver wonder what the day-to-day life of a police K-9 is like? The Rochester Police Department may have some answers for you. (More)
Feb 14, 2017 9:46 PMA new poll from the University of New Hampshire showed that Granite Staters see drug abuse is seen as the most important problem facing...
Feb 14, 2017 6:53 PMIn our continuing coverage of the state's addiction crisis, NH1 News is airing a series of positive stories of recovery and hope. Steve Pierce has been sober since May 12, 2012. Prior to his sobriety he tried to maintain a normal life as a teacher, father and husband, but...
Feb 14, 2017 5:47 PMA New Hampshire lawmaker is proposing a bill that would separate DCYF from the rest of DHHS, making it an independent state agency. (More)
Feb 14, 2017 3:45 PMPolice are executing search warrants in connection to a financial investigation at the home, businesses of NH state rep. who is also a Queen...
Feb 14, 2017 12:09 PMA tip involving a firearm threat towards a high school came into the Weare Police Department via social media late Monday night. (More)
Feb 14, 2017 9:58 AMU.S. Secret Service agent Garrett FitzGerald remembers everything about the crash that left him paralyzed in NH while scouting a Hillary Clinton event. (More)
Feb 14, 2017 9:42 AMEvery year, police and growers in Colombia must make sure that the romance of Valentine's Day isn't spoiled by cocaine. (More)
Feb 14, 2017 8:42 AMThere are police patrolling around John Stark High School in Weare Tuesday morning. (More)
Feb 13, 2017 10:53 PMWhen it comes to Thursday’s showdown in the state House of Representatives over the much argued about right to work bill, Gov. Chris Sununu...