Munnsville woman allegedly high on ‘bath salts’ dies after attacking child
by Jeremy Ryan
– A Madison County woman alleged to be high on drugs is dead after assaulting her child and receiving a Taser shock while she struggled with police.
According to State Police, around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, troopers were called to an apartment on North Main Street in the Village of Munnsville for a report of a woman assaulting her three-year-old child. While police were responding to scene, they say Madison County 911 dispatchers received several follow-up reports that the woman was punching and choking the child and had started to attack a neighbor.
When police arrived, they say they found 35-year-old Pamela McCarthy apparently under the influence of “bath salts”, an illegal synthetic drug. Police say Trooper Christopher Budlong attempted to arrest McCarthy, who was “violently combative” and may have been “growling,” according to police and resisted attempts to handcuff her. Budlong used his police-issued pepper spray on McCarthy to no effect, so he then deployed his Taser and was able to handcuff McCarthy with the help of rescue personnel.
Police then say that after McCarthy was taken into custody she went into apparent cardiac arrest. She was taken by ambulance to Oneida Healthcare, where she later died.
At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, State Police said the use of the Taser was justified. Troopers said the woman has a history of using bath salts.
An autopsy was unable to pinpoint the exact cause of death, according to police. It could take several weeks before toxicology results are back.
Wednesday morning, eyewitnesses David and Zachary Bridge told CNY Central’s Jim Kenyon that they saw McCarthy come out of the rear exit of her apartment with the boy in her arms, and tumble down the stairs holding onto the child. They say she began assaulting the child and was yelling incoherently. Witnesses say at one point she was sitting on the pavement spinning and laughing as she was hurting the child. They said the boy’s father intervened and took the child away from McCarthy, at which point she chased a neighbor, Heather Ames, into her apartment and attacked her.
Ames told Kenyon that she fought off the attack, and McCarthy went back out into the parking lot, stripped off all of her clothes, and threatened people passing by.
Witnesses say McCarthy then went back into her apartment and tumbled down the stairs again, this time with her pet pit bull in her arms, and then injured the dog as well. State Police and rescue units showed up at which point McCarthy became combative and resisted arrest. Ames says the Trooper (Budlong) repeatedly told McCarthy to let go of the dog, and pepper-sprayed her to no avail.
At several points, witnesses say McCarthy was warned by Troopers that she would be tased if she did not let go of the dog. After McCarthy was tased and handcuffed, a neighbor informed the Trooper that McCarthy had undergone an operation to place stents in her heart just two days prior to the incident.
All three eyewitnesses Kenyon spoke with said that Trooper Budlong was justified in the way he handled the situation.
Police say the child was taken by ambulance to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. He was treated for minor injuries and released to family members.
State Police held a news conference Wednesday afternoon in Oneida. Deputies say Onondaga Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy, but they were unable to determine the cause and manner of death. Troop D commander Major Rodney Campbell says they are waiting for toxicology test results.
Campbell confirmed that McCarthy was high on bath salts and was not coherent at the time of her death.
The case will be presented to a grand jury, which is standard procedure when a person dies in police custody.