Woman charged after 12-year-old gets drunk


Published: Friday, January 30, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 29, 2009 at 11:02 p.m.

Police arrested a Gainesville woman accused of failing to get professional medical help for a 12-year-old girl who was drunk and in her care during a sleepover at her home.

Police accused Helen Elaina Sullivan-Napier, 38, of neglect of a child, according to an arrest report.

Arrested Wednesday, Sullivan-Napier was released from the Alachua County jail on her own recognizance Thursday.

Officers allege Sullivan-Napier attempted to "sober up" the pre-teen for five hours by keeping her awake, covering her with blankets and giving her liquids. The girl was one of several spending the night with Sullivan-Napier's daughter earlier this month. Some other adults also were staying at the woman's Gainesville home overnight on Jan. 2, according to police.

Officers reported the woman at one point tried to give the girl mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when it appeared the child had stopped breathing.

Police said Sullivan-Napier called a friend and asked for medical advice but never contacted 911 or tried to get medical treatment for the girl. She also didn't return the girl to her parents during that time.

Police said medical professionals weren't contacted until another child staying at the home called law enforcement at 3 a.m. on Jan. 3. Paramedics then arrived and took the child to Shands at the University of Florida. A test of her blood alcohol level showed she had a reading of .076.

Under state law, a person is presumed drunk when their blood alcohol level reaches .08.

But a review of the information by a Child Protection Team reported the child's blood alcohol level was probably higher at the time when Sullivan-Napier first learned about the girl's state at about 10 p.m. on Jan. 2, according to police.

Calculations, they reported, indicate the child's blood alcohol level probably was as high as .135.

Police said the girl received alcohol at the home during a cookout earlier in the day. Officers already had arrested another person in connection with the gathering at the residence.

A U.S. Navy sailor on leave was arrested on charges of giving five minors liquor at the cookout and later molesting one of them, The Sun reported earlier this month.

Police are not releasing the identities of the minors involved in either case and could not provide additional information about any connection between the two arrests Thursday.

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