Woman charged in the drug death of great-grandson dies
A Taylor woman who was charged in connection with the death of her infant great-grandson who died after ingesting prescription pills on the floor of her home has died, the woman's husband and her attorney said Thursday.
Rebecca May, 52, died Tuesday, the same day she and her 65-year-old husband Quentin May and co-defendant went before Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Shannon Walker for a final pre-trial hearing on criminal charges in connection with the death of their 10-month-old great-grandson Du'Wan Langhan. The couple were charged with manslaughter and child abuse charges.
The medical examiner's office said Thursday that the cause and manner of Rebecca May's death are pending. Westland police would not comment. Quentin May did not disclose the nature of his wife's death and only said he wants her to "rest in peace."
Both Rebecca and Quentin May were offered plea deals on the charges at Tuesday's hearing. Both would have pleaded guilty to manslaughter and the second-degree child abuse charges would be dropped.
Both would get three years probation beginning with a year in jail for Rebecca. Her husband would spend three months in jail.
Substance abuse evaluation would be ordered for the couple, as part of the plea deal, according to Wayne County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Maria Miller.
The couple were scheduled for the continuation of the final pre-trial conference Sept. 18.
The couple's great-grandson died in October after ingesting prescription drugs prescribed to Rebecca May.
The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said the Mays "failed to store and/or maintain their medications in a safe manner," and to "provide a safe environment" for their great-grandson. It was determined the child died from a fatal ingestion of drugs that were prescribed to Rebecca May. The child's death was caused by the muscle relaxer Cyclobenzaprine and by methadone toxicity, according to the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office.
Rebecca May allegedly told police that she dropped the pills in her bed but later told investigators, according to prosecutors, that she thought she had found the pills and in another account, that the pills had not been recovered.
The couple also told investigators that prescription pills ended up scattered on the floor of their home after someone broke into their home and ransacked it.
The couple were were charged in late May with one count of involuntary manslaughter and one count of second-degree child abuse. The infant was was found on the floor of the Mays' home on Wilkie Street about 3:24 p.m. Oct. 5.
During a court hearing for the couple, assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Ben Deneweth said the couple were "grossly negligent" to allow the infant to crawl around the floor knowing there were pills "scattered everywhere."
Deneweth said while the case against Rebecca May is a "circumstantial" one, the great-grandmother was still "grossly negligent" to not take better care of the handling of the pills since she had custody of the infant.
"This is a circumstantial case but the circumstances strongly indicate that Ms. May was in fact grossly negligent leaving the controlled substances accessible to little Du'Wan and that he did ingest them and die from them," said Deneweth.
Rebecca May's defense attorney, Shawn Patrick Smith, said he was "perplexed by the use of the phrase "gross negligence" in the case. Smith said the family's home had been broken into and the pills had been scattered around the house during the break-in and that the child may have picked up the pills.
"It's not gross negligence to have a pill get stuck (somewhere) or two pills or whatever the case might be," he said. "No witness came here and said they intentionally did anything. It's just a tragic accident."