Parents of meth-sickened girl make court debut

TAFT, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) The parents of a Taft toddler sickened by methamphetamine made their court debuts Tuesday.

Chris Davidson and Gina Barrios were taken into custody Friday at a motel on South Union Avenue in Bakersfield, according to Taft police. Tuesday, they pleaded not guilty to charges of willful cruelty to a child and obstruction of justice.

Police investigation reports show what the parents allegedly did just after the child got sick and during the next few days.

The 2-year-old girl was rushed to a hospital Aug. 15 when her father said he noticed she was "acting funny." The child spent "three days of hell" in the intensive care unit, 32-year-old Davidson told Eyewitness News in an interview Aug. 20.

The girl was reportedly throwing up and had shallow breathing. Barrios, 38, reportedly took off after the child became ill.

According to an investigation report filed with the case, both parents had been caring for the little girl at that time. Two reports are filed, and both indicate the parents waited to get medical care.

"Gina as well as her husband failed to call for medical assistance at the time their two and a half year old got sick," one officer's report states. "Choosing instead to wait for about two and a half hours."

The other report said the couple chose to wait "about four hours, before dialing 911."

Davidson told Eyewitness News that he called 911 and went with his daughter in the ambulance to a Bakersfield hospital. Once there, Davidson recalled a doctor telling him that a urine sample showed methamphetamine in the child's system.

"I was ashamed, embarrassed," Davidson told Eyewitness News. "I'm the one that's supposed to be protecting my baby."

But, Davidson is accused of being an accessory to the child endangerment, and obstructing the investigation. Police allege he's the one who convinced the mother to go into hiding.

One officer says he determined the couple had been in phone contact "through the whole incident and that Davidson had dissuaded Gina from showing up at the hospital or back home, due to the fact if she did she would be arrested for child endangerment and being under the influence."

In the other report, the officer states Barrios admitted to staying away from the hospital, out of fear she'd be arrested for being under the influence of drugs.

Davidson told Eyewitness News that he didn't hear from the mother until several days after his daughter got sick. He also said he reported Barrios' location to police.

Police on Friday indicated Davidson knew where Barrios was earlier than he reported. The case reports show more.

"Three days after the initial incident, Davidson picked Gina up from her cousin's house and proceeded to house her for two days in a motel room in Bakersfield," the report reads. "(He) failed to notify the police department of Gina's whereabouts."

Investigators still haven't publicly said how the child was exposed to meth. Davidson indicated his wife, whom he called a drug user, was responsible.

In the case report, Barrios admitted to being a 'long time meth user and having used the day before the incident."

The family had been staying with friends for a few days at the time the child got sick, and Taft police said they found no sign of drugs in the house on Woodrow Street.

But, in the officer's report, Barrios "admitted to having brought and having used drugs inside the house numerous times before, as well as having provided false information regarding her husband's meth intake and use."

Davidson had told Eyewitness News, and also apparently police, that he'd been clean from previous drug use for about six years. "(A) statement which was later dismissed as false by Gina and Davidson's own admission," the report states.

The case filed in court Tuesday shows Davidson has several prior convictions, and served prison time, for offenses in Santa Barbara County. One case is from 2003 and the other from 2005. The charges appear to be theft and drug possession.

At one point in the short court hearing, Davidson asked if his bail could be reduced. The judge said No, telling Davidson he was facing serious, "go to prison kinds of offenses."

Bail is now set at $115,000 for Davidson, and $75,000 for Barrios. They're expected back in court next week.

At last word, the child was in protective custody.