Grandma avoids trial, enters plea in 2-year-old's methadone death

CLEVELAND (AP) - A forty-five-year-old grandmother entered a no-contest plea in a Cleveland Municipal Courtroom Wednesday, avoiding a trial.

Norma Caraballo-Vazquez was charged with child endangering and involuntary manslaughter, but, as part of the plea, she will only face sentencing on the involuntary manslaughter charge.

Caraballo-Vazquez's 2-year-old grandson Noah Harvey was pronounced dead at a hospital in March of last year.

An autopsy found that Noah died with large amounts of drugs in his system, including methadone prescribed to his grandmother.

He also had several times the recommended amounts of Benadryl and Robitussin in his little body.

She was babysitting Noah while his mother was at work. Caraballo-Vazquez texted her daughter that afternoon and told her Noah was sick and needed to see a doctor.

Prosecutors said it would have been exceedingly difficult for the toddler to access the methadone, his grandmother, a recovering heroin addict, had in the home.

The methadone, they said is sealed with childproof caps, reinforced with a seal.

In court, the prosecution said Noah had three methadone pills in his system, the maximum amount available to his grandmother through her recovery program.

Noah's mother, who didn't want to show her face on camera, did speak to Cleveland 19 News after the hearing. She said she's still heartbroken by her young son's death.

"It still weighs a lot, but with everything that has gone on, I'm very satisfied with all the help I have received, from not only the detective, but also the prosecutor," she said.

Caraballo-Vazquez will be sentenced on Jan. 24. She could face up to 11 years behind bars.

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