ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — Detectives are investigating a caregiver after a 4-year-old boy with disabilities died, alleging she stole some of the medicine that was meant to keep him alive, according to the boy’s autopsy report.
Ryley Maue of Allegan died on August 26 from a seizure related to cerebral palsy, the autopsy report shows.
He had been taking liquid Valium to help control seizures, but the caregiver allegedly replaced some of the Valium with water or some other liquid, the report states. The watered-down medicine, the report shows, wasn’t enough to stop the seizures that killed him.
A source close to the investigation says the caregiver was a licensed practical nurse (LPN) who worked at the boy’s home in Allegan. The source says the nurse also is under investigation for a similar allegation involving a child in nearby Barry County.
“It’s the most cruel thing ever imagined,” the boy’s mom, Toni Ward, says Thursday. “You never would think that somebody would just do that to a handicapped child on life support.”
Ryley suffered from cerebral palsy. So does his older brother. Ryley was never able to walk or talk, but his mom could read his face.
“Rye-Rye was my little monster,” she says. “He was an amazing little boy.”
He had recently learned to sit up and roll over on his own.
Both her sons took liquid Valium.
“It’s supposed to calm the seizures down,” their mom says.
Toni Ward says she got help from two in-home care nurses from a local agency — one several times a week during the day and another working overnight shifts. Not long before Ryley died, she says the daytime nurse noticed the liquid Valium appeared watered down. The mom says she reported the theft to police, but never suspected the night-time nurse.
“I would never have thought of a nurse doing something like that,” she says. “You’re supposed to trust a nurse.”
Then, early in the morning on Aug. 26, Ryley suffered a seizure that killed him.
“I would love to see her get prosecuted, go to prison for a long time,” Ryley’s mom says.
The nurse will not be named since the investigation is still ongoing. State records show her LPN license was suspended in January.