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Boy in viral 'heroin' photos heading to new home

Posted: 9:50 AM, Sep 14, 2016
Updated: 2016-09-14 12:41:20-04

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio -- The young boy pictured in a viral Facebook post from Ohio police meant to send a message about the heroin epidemic has found a new home. 

The 4-year-old is going to live with his great-aunt and great-uncle in South Carolina, Columbiana County Court Administrator Dane Walton told NBC News

The East Liverpool Police Department posted two images on the city's Facebook page last week showing two adults who they said overdosed on heroin in a car with the little boy in the backseat.

The department did not blur the little boy's face (Scripps Digital blurred his face before posting it online.)
 
NBC News reports the two passed out in the front seat were the boy's grandmother and her friend. 

The Ohio authorities that posted the image online said they did it to send a message. And that's exactly what they did, since the post was seen by millions of people within 24 hours. 

"We feel it necessary to show the other side of this horrible drug," the post states. "We feel we need to be a voice for the children caught up in this horrible mess. This child can't speak for himself but we are hopeful this story can convince another user to think twice about injecting this poison while having a child in their custody."

According to a police report , an East Liverpool officer spotted an SUV with West Virginia license plates driving erratically on Sept. 7. The officer saw the driver slam on the brakes when the SUV approached a stopped school bus that was dropping kids off, the police report states. The SUV came to a stop in the middle of the road and the officer approached.

The officer said the driver's head was bobbing and his speech was mostly unintelligible. Police identified the driver as James Acord and the passenger as Rhonda Pasek. Acord told the officer he was taking his front seat passenger, who was passed out, to the hospital, the report states.

The officer said he reached into the vehicle, turned it off and removed the keys just as Acord tried to drive away. The officer then noticed the 4-year-old boy in the backseat. 

The officer said Acord soon passed out as well. Emergency crews responded and administered Narcan, a drug used to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose. Acord and Pasek regained consciousness and were taken to the hospital.

Acord ws charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, endangering children and slowing or stopping in a roadway. Pasek is charged with endangering children, public intoxication and not wearing a seat belt.