A Pennsylvania woman reportedly told authorities that she repeatedly poisoned both of her children with Visine eye drops, but argued that she only meant to poison one of them.
23-year-old Samantha Elizabeth Unger told investigators she purposely spiked her 3-year-old son’s water and juice with Visine eye drops while they lived in Orrtanna, according to state police in Gettysburg.
Police said on Tuesday that Unger also finally confessed that her 1-year-old son had become sick twice after accidentally ingesting some of the drinks she made for his older brother, but added that she didn’t intend to poison her younger child.
After being hospitalized numerous times for life-threatening symptoms, the 3-year-old boy was finally sent by helicopter to Penn State Hershey Medical Center in March, according to the criminal complaint.
Medical experts did several tests before the young boy’s urine tests came back positive for tetrahydrozoline, the chemical commonly used in eye drops and nasal sprays.
Under police questioning, Unger admitted to using Visine to poison her son, but couldn’t provide an estimate of how much of the liquid she had actually poured into his drinks.
However, she did say she definitely used more than one bottle, police said in the complaint.
According to the National Institutes of Health, tetrahydrozoline poisoning can cause seizures, nausea and vomiting, changes in blood pressure, increased heart rate, blurred vision, difficulty breathing, and coma.
Since the mother’s arrest, both boys have been placed in the care of their grandparents, while Unger had moved to Thurmont, Maryland.
"They are great kids. They are a lot of fun," grandfather Timothy Unger said. "They're doing real well, right now."
Unger is charged with three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of endangering the welfare of children. Surprisingly, she will not face any attempted murder charges for poisoning her sons.
District Attorney Shawn Wagner said Unger would not be charged with attempted homicide because she did not have a specific intent to kill her children.
Her bail at Adams County Prison was set at $50,000 cash, and preliminary hearing has been scheduled.