Grandmother Faces Manslaughter Charge in Grandson's Tragic Death

A grandmother from Broward County is currently facing an aggravated manslaughter charge in connection with the tragic death of her 10-month-old grandson, Josiah Tobias Fenelus, last year. This arrest comes after a lengthy investigation that revealed disturbing details surrounding the child’s passing.

The incident unfolded on August 21, 2022, when Josiah Fenelus was under the care of his grandmother, Tibina Louissant, at her residence in Oakland Park. On that fateful day, the child became unresponsive, prompting immediate action. He was rushed to Broward Health Medical Center but was pronounced dead upon arrival, according to officials from the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO).

The case took a significant turn when the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy, revealing startling findings. In October 2022, it was determined that young Josiah had a lethal concentration of cyproheptadine, a potent antihistamine, in his system. This revelation raised serious questions about the circumstances leading to his death.

Further investigation led to the discovery of two baby bottles in Louissant’s home, both of which tested positive for cyproheptadine, as reported by the BSO. The child’s autopsy also indicated troubling signs, including brain swelling, pulmonary congestion, and a small scalp hemorrhage.


What is Cyproheptadine?

Cyproheptadine is an antihistamine medication that is typically used to relieve allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itching, and watery eyes. It works by blocking the action of histamine, a natural substance in the body that is involved in allergic reactions.

It may also be used as an appetite stimulant in some cases, particularly for individuals who are underweight or experiencing a lack of appetite. It can stimulate hunger and increase food intake.


How Dangerous is Cyproheptadine?

While cyproheptadine can be effective for its intended medical purposes when used under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional, it is not without risks. Like many medications, it can have potential side effects, which may include:

  • Drowsiness or sedation: Cyproheptadine can cause drowsiness and impair alertness, which is why it is often taken before bedtime when used as an allergy medication.
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Increased appetite and weight gain: This is a desired effect when cyproheptadine is used as an appetite stimulant but can be problematic if not used for this specific purpose.
  • Rare but serious side effects: These can include severe allergic reactions, confusion, hallucinations, seizures, and a rapid or irregular heartbeat. Such reactions are relatively rare but should be reported to a healthcare provider immediately if they occur.

It’s important to note that cyproheptadine should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional and as prescribed. It is not recommended for children under the age of two, and its use in older children should be closely monitored by a healthcare provider.

Misuse or overuse of cyproheptadine can be dangerous, especially if taken in excessive amounts, as it can lead to severe side effects or overdose. Additionally, using it without a prescription or for purposes other than those approved by a healthcare provider is not safe and should be avoided.

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