OHIO - The boy who was seen in a shocking photo in the back seat of a car while a couple were slumped over in front from a drug overdose has found a new home, the BBC reported on Thursday (Sept 15).
The four-year-old boy, who has not been named, will be moving in with his great-uncle and great-aunt in South Carolina after their court petition for his custody was granted by a judge on Monday (Sept 12). The boy's great-uncle and great-aunt have not been named.
Photos of the boy and the couple, now identified as his grandmother and her boyfriend, had made international headlines last week after the East Liverpool Ohio Police Department posted the image on its Facebook page.
The boy's grandmother, 50-year-old Rhonda Pasek, had only been granted custody of the boy six weeks ago, the BBC reported. Police have detained her under a child endangerment charge.
Her boyfriend, 47-year-old James Acord, has pleaded guilty to child endangerment and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
Both had been taken into custody last Wednesday after an officer driving his personal vehicle stopped Acord for driving the car erratically.
The police department said they had released the controversial image, in which the couple were seen passed out with their mouths agape, to raise awareness about the heroin epidemic in the community.
The post caused a social media firestorm, generating 20,000 shares and nearly 3,000 comments in the 24 hours after it was posted, Reuters reported.
But the post also came under fire from some who questioned why the police had posted the photo without blurring the boy's image. Others questioned the department's approach in shaming the couple.
An officer's report that was posted together with the Facebook photo said Acord's head was "bobbing back and forth" and his speech was almost unintelligible when they were stopped.
Acord had told the officer he was taking Pasek to the hospital and had tried to drive away before he passed out.
The officer said Pasek was also unconscious and was turning blue.
They were revived by emergency medical technicians, according to the officer's report.
NBC News reported Pasek's sister as saying their family had been "humiliated" by the city's officals.
"They could have blurred his (the boy's) face and they didn't," she was quoted saying. "And now they're taking him away from my sister."
She added that while she did not condone what Pasek had done, " what they did to her and what they're doing to her grandson is too much."