'Three days of hell' follows Taft toddler's meth exposure

TAFT, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) A Taft child who was sickened by methamphetamine is out of the hospital, and her mother has been found. But, Taft police are still investigating how the toddler came in contact with the drug.

The child's father told Eyewitness News that his daughter was very sick and he's the one who tipped police on the mother's location.

"She's doing really well," father Chris Davidson said on Monday afternoon. The 2-year-old was rushed to the hospital last Wednesday, when the father said he noticed she was "acting funny." He said they spent "three days of hell" in the intensive care unit.

Taft police said the child was treated at Mercy Southwest and then at Memorial Hospital. Lt. Pete Aranda said the little girl is improving.

"She seems to be recovering, and should be recovering fine," Aranda said.

The father also said the child is doing "really well." The little girl is now in protective custody.

Davidson said on Wednesday that he had been in and out of the house where the family was staying with friends on Woodrow Street in Taft. At one point when he came home, the father realized the child was having problems. He called 911, and the child was rushed to the hospital by ambulance.

The mother had disappeared, and Taft police wanted to talk to her. Davidson said he's the one who led police to the mother, Gina Barrios.

"She was located in Bakersfield," Aranda told Eyewitness News. "She was staying at a hotel in Bakersfield." He said officers found Barrios on Saturday and talked to her.

But, Aranda said investigators have no cause to arrest anyone at this point.

Officers had checked the house where the family was staying, and it was in good shape, and they found no evidence of drugs.

"The officers evaluated all of the adults and also the children, and none displayed any symptoms of being under the influence of meth," Aranda said. The family friends also have a child in the household, and Davidson said his family also includes two other kids.

Investigators said the toddler's family was staying with the friends for a few days after moving out of a house nearby on Warren Street. Eyewitness News discovered the family was forced out of that house, because it didn't have electricity or water service.

Police said the couple's other children are now staying with grandparents. Davidson said they are his stepchildren, but he wants to get custody of them and the toddler. Davidson said he has "no clue" where Barrios is now. He said the two were married in 2009.

Asked if the child could have come in contact with the drugs someplace other than the house were the family was staying, Aranda said not that he knows of.

Investigators are working on some leads, and still trying to develop more information in this case, Aranda said. He added that anyone with information should call the Taft Police Department at (661) 763-3101.

He said officers are still looking for answers.

"It's very disturbing that an innocent 2-year-old would be hospitalized under the fact that somebody was careless," Aranda said. "Or intentionally, possibly intentionally, provided meth to the child."