Waterloo, IA – A Waterloo woman has been charged in connection with the overdose death of a toddler she was adopting while they were in Des Moines.
Waterloo police arrested 38-year-old Amanda Roena Leonard-Hellum at her West Third Street home on a Polk County warrant for child endangerment causing death on Tuesday night. As of Wednesday morning, she was in the Polk County Jail in Des Moines with bond set at $25,000.
The child is identified as Maximus Xavier Leonard-Hellum in court records and obituary information. Child endangerment causing death is a felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison upon conviction.
Court records indicate Amanda Leonard-Hellum was in the final stages of adopting the 2-year-old boy in June when he ingested her prescription medication while at the Park Winds apartment complex where she was visiting her boyfriend.
Authorities allege Leonard-Hellum knew the child had access to the medications, and that he had taken some, but she allegedly didn’t seek medical treatment.
Leonard-Hellum, Maximus and another child arrived at the apartment building at about 6 p.m. on June 26, and she discovered he had taken the pills, according to Des Moines police.
“Rather than seek medical care, Leonard-Hellum decided to monitor the child throughout the night,” police said in a prepared statement.
Around 7:40 a.m. June 27, authorities were called to the apartment and found the child dead, police said. Toxicology tests determined he died of an overdose of various medications during the night, according to court records.
During the investigation, the boyfriend’s 4-year-old son, who was also in the vehicle during the drive, was taken to the hospital as a precaution, Des Moines police said. There was no indication the 4-year-old had taken any medications or was otherwise endangered, police said. Maximus was born in Marshalltown in March 2017, and he was placed with Amanda Leonard-Hellum days later pending adoption, according to court records.
“He enjoyed cars, listening to music, playing and studying all the different insects he could find, he was an adventurer, and a kid who loved to be outside,” a passage in his obituary read.
Services were in Marshalltown in July.