Sheriff: 12 campers given Melatonin pills at Camp Beckwith without parents' consent

Since FOX10 News Investigates broke the story on Wednesday that some children were given sleeping pills at Camp Beckw...

Posted: Jul 29, 2018 11:11 AM
Updated: Jul 29, 2018 11:11 AM

Since FOX10 News Investigates broke the story on Wednesday that some children were given sleeping pills at Camp Beckwith without parents' consent, Baldwin County Sheriff Huey "Hoss" Mack told FOX10 News Investigates several more families have come forward about their children also being given the pills during the same camp session.

Mack said the sheriff's office began investigating when one family came forward on Tuesday, then on Wednesday, two other children were found to have taken the pills, and by Thursday, the number had grown to at least six children.

By Friday, Sheriff Mack said 12 children, between the ages of eight and nine-years-old, received Melatonin pills from camp staff at bed time.

Mack also told FOX10 News Investigates 11 children are from Mobile County, and one other child is from Baldwin County.

Camp Beckwith is a popular Episcopal summer camp in southern Fairhope, on the coast of Weeks Bay.

According to Mack, investigators have determined the pills were only given out during a week-long camp session that ended on July 20, and he does not believe that any children were affected in previous years.

One mother, who sent her son to last week's session, told FOX10 News Investigates her son saw camp staff offering all of the boys in his cabin what they called a "sleepy time pill" at night.

After her son told her about it, the mother wrote to Beckwith's Camp and Program Director about what she heard.

The mother, who wished to remain anonymous, forwarded the Camp and Program Director's response to FOX10 News Investigates, which said, "some of our campers last session were given Tic Tacs described as sleepy time pills to help ease their mind and to wind down a little. I realize now this was not the best strategy as it suggests we promote taking "medicine" to help fall asleep."

That response was originally sent to the mother on Monday, two days before the allegations went public, and one day before the sheriff's office got involved.

The mom who received the letter feels as though camp staff deliberately tried to lie about what pills they offered the kids.

She said she also forwarded the email to the Baldwin County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Mack confirmed he had received the email, and so far, he's not sure if the Camp and Program Director intentionally lied about the pills, or if she was misinformed from other staff members.

Either way, Mack said after conducting countless interviews with campers and staff, investigators have determined kids were definitely given Melatonin, not Tic Tacs.

FOX10 News Investigates reached out to the local Episcopal Bishop, who oversees the camp, to see what he thinks about the letter, but he has not responded.

Mack said once investigators have completed all pertinent interviews with campers and staff, the sheriff's office will have a "round table" discussion with representatives from the Alabama Department of Human Resources and the Baldwin County District Attorney's Office to discuss any possible criminal charges.

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