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Sep 9, 2002

Baby overdoses on anti-depressants

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Tonight a young mother is mourning the loss of her only child, while the cops try to figure out what caused the infant to die. On Friday morning, the parents of six-month-old Amber Camal left her at the babysitter’s, but the next time they saw her, the child was in the hospital and close to death. What went wrong? News 5′s Jacqueline Woods reports.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

It is still not certain what took place in one of the upstairs rooms of this house on South Street where six-month-old Amber Brittenay Camal was in the care of her babysitter, Debbie Godfrey. Around 5:20 on Friday evening, the baby’s father, Rory Camal, went to pick up Amber, but instead he found a distraught Godfrey who told him his baby was in the hospital.

Rory Camal, Father

“She start breaking down, crying and said that the baby is at the hospital. I said, well what is the baby doing at the hospital. And she said the baby had swallowed some pills. And I said what kind of pills. She said she don’t know, ask my daughter. I said, where is your daughter and she said, my daughter is at the hospital with the baby. So I left immediately and went to the hospital. When I get there, there was about two doctors and six to eight nurses around the baby, with her daughter standing aside looking on. I asked her what happened, she said the baby swallowed two little pills. I said, what kind of pills and she said it’s an anti-suppressant pill.”

Authorities still don’t know how many pills baby Amber swallowed, but Camal says the doctors told them that there was enough medication in his daughter’s stomach to kill an adult. Baby Amber died around 2:30 Sunday morning at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

Camal says the family is also upset that they were not informed immediately about the incident. No one at the Godfrey’s house would talk to us nor respond to our calls. However, police investigations have revealed that in the room where Amber was found, a number of anti-depressant pills, in 2 bottles, a Ziplock bag and a school bag were on the bed.

Rory Camal

“How could pills be lying around in a house where people are babysitting other children? And you always look on the label of any medication and the first thing, which is very important is to keep out of reach of children. So I started to ask myself, how could this happen? From what the girl said to me that the pills were on the bed lying in a purse, and I said that is totally reckless.”

Jacqueline Woods

“And Amber is only six-months-old too.”

Rory Camal

“Yeah. And when she said that, I said, but my child is not even creeping, she’s just starting to roll over and not even sitting up by herself. So I tried to understand how could my child take pills and put it in her mouth, that’s beyond me.”

It’s a question that the police are trying to answer. For now, the family is still learning to cope with this tragic loss.

Rory Camal

“I mean the whole family is being affected by this. I have a nine-year-old son who is strongly attached to the child and it’s affecting him deeply. He can’t understand what’s happening right now. And myself, I mean I owe this to my child.”

Camal says after his daughter is laid to rest he will begin a personal campaign to ensure that all children are left in the care of responsible babysitters.

Rory Camal

“I believe that it is now time for us in our country that there are things that should be set in place for us people to feel safe knowing that our children are being protected. So I said to my wife this morning that after all this is over we would need to sit down seriously and try to see how we can get the people, like ministers or whosoever, that are involved, to look into these matters more seriously. Because I believe that any nation your children is the most important asset to any nation, to any family, because they are the future. And if we cannot protect them from people, which I want to arm them…because I look at my child, and she couldn’t even defend herself.”

Reporting for News 5, Jacqueline Woods.

Amber Camal will be buried on Wednesday. According to police, no one has been charged in connection with the child’s death. A post-mortem was scheduled for this afternoon, but those results have not yet been made public.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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