Syracuse man arrested for putting bleach in children's milk

Aaron Hickman

A Syracuse man is under arrest after police say he poisoned two young childrenâ??s drinks with bleach.

According to Syracuse Police spokesman Sgt. Tom Connellan, on Thursday, officers responded to Upstate University Hospital for a report of a possible poisoning of two young children ages 1 and 3.

Police say their investigation revealed that 20-year-old Aaron Hickman had been living with his brother, the brotherâ??s girlfriend, and the coupleâ??s children at a home on Seymour Street.

Wednesday night, police say Hickman and his brother had an argument and Hickman was told to leave the residence. Hickman was allegedly angry about this, so before he left he poured bleach into the childrenâ??s milk that was in the refrigerator.

On Thursday morning, the two boys drank the tainted milk containing the bleach. The children became ill with severe vomiting and diarrhea and were taken to the emergency room at University Hospital where they were treated and released.

On Friday, the young boys' mother, Shamara Hale, spoke to CNYCentral. She says she still can't believe what happened.

"This is the worst experience ever because my kids could have died," says Hale. "I would've had to plan two funerals."

Hale says Hickman had been staying at the house for two months, and his brother asked him to leave, causing an argument. She says the family left for the night, and when they came home the next morning, she noticed her Listerine was a strange color and smelled like bleach.

Then, she says when her children started getting sick, she smelled their milk, and that smelled like bleach, too. She says one-year-old Keymar drank two bottles of the milk, and three-year-old Zamare drank one cup. She says the two boys are doing better now, and she's grateful.

Dr. Ross Sullivan, an emergency medicine attending at Upstate University Hospital, says if a little bit of bleach is swallowed, it may not be harmful. However, large quantities of bleach can cause severe damage.

"Once they're inside the mouth or inside the GI tract, they can cause burns, and sometimes, pretty severe burns," says Sullivan. He says every parent should make sure bleach and other chemicals are out of reach.

As for Hickman, police say he admitted that he put the liquid bleach into the milk. He has been charged with second degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. He was scheduled to be arraigned in Syracuse City Court on Friday.