TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — A couple from Coker has been charged in the death of their 3-month-old son, according to the Tuscaloosa County Violent Crimes Unit.
Randal Chester Gray II, 40, and Jessica Minor, 35, were both arrested after being indicted for chemical endangerment of a child that resulted in death, which is a Class A felony.
On May 5, 2022, the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 14000 block
of Shady Woods Lane in Coker on an unresponsive infant. The child was transported to a hospital but did not survive.
The Violent Crimes Unit assumed the investigation. No physical trauma was found on the child, and interviews with the parents did not produce a cause of death. The parents and all witnesses were formally interviewed, and relevant evidence was collected.
During the initial investigation, it was discovered that methamphetamine had been detected in the baby’s system when the child was born. VCU investigators said the methamphetamine in the baby was considered “street” or “illegal.” Minor was then charged with chemical endangerment of a child and arrested on August 17, 2022. She was later released after posting a $15,000 bond.
Months later, a formal autopsy report received from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences listed the child’s cause of death as “methamphetamine toxicity.” VCU investigators then consulted with a series of medical experts, re-interviewed the parents and presented the findings to the District Attorney’s Office and a subsequent grand jury, which led to the couple’s arrest.
“One of the issues in these types of cases is that we have to talk with medical experts,” said Capt. Jack Kennedy of the VCU. “We’re trying to quantify, for lack of a better word, how much of this substance is in this child, how much of this substance would it take to cause an injury and things of that nature. The fact that this child in no way can procure or feed itself or allow itself to have contact with this at all at its incredibly young age, the manner of death was declared a homicide.”
During the arrest, methamphetamine was found in the couple’s possession. Gray was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. Minor was charged with trafficking methamphetamine and had her bond revoked on her previous charges.