Boy in shocking Ohio 'Heroin' picture heading to Myrtle Beach
(Source: East Liverpool Police)
(NBC NEWS) - The boy who broke America's heart after an Ohio town posted a photo of him in the back of an SUV — while his grandmother and her friend sat passed out from apparent heroin overdoses in the front seats — has found a new home.
The 4-year-old is going to live with his great-aunt and great-uncle in Myrtle Beach, Columbiana County Court Administrator Dane Walton confirmed Tuesday.
Meanwhile, his grandmother, 50-year-old Rhonda Pasek, is in jail awaiting trial on charges of endangering a child and public intoxication, Walton said.
Pasek was granted custody of the boy just six weeks before she and 47-year-old James Lee Acord were arrested last Wednesday by police in East Liverpool, Ohio — and the city decided to make an example of them by posting the now-infamous photo of the couple with the 4-year-old online to graphically illustrate the dangers of "the poison known as heroin."
"The city of East Liverpool humiliated my family and humiliated that little boy," Pasek's sister, who asked not to be identified, told NBC News.
"They could have blurred his face and they didn't. And now they're taking him away from my sister. I'm not condoning what Rhonda done, but what they did to her and what they're doing to her grandson is too much," she said.
Brian Allen, the city's director of public services and safety, made no apology for putting the photo on the city's Facebook page. He said heroin abuse is an Ohio and a national problem and the public needs to see the damage this drug does to abusers and to their families.
"As a public official I can't blur public records and this photo is a public record," he told NBC News. "It's all or nothing for us. We're a government agency posting it. It's not like we can willy-nilly do what we want."
Asked what kind of feedback they've gotten for their controversial decision to post the photo online, Allen said, "I'd say ninety percent positive, ten percent negative."
NBC News has not identified the boy and has blurred his image in the photo provided by the city of East Liverpool.
Brian Macala, an attorney who represents the 4-year-old's maternal great-grandparents, told NBC News the boy is now with his great aunt and uncle, Lori and Terry Lane, who live in Myrtle Beach, S.C.