EAST LIVERPOOL, OH (NBC NEWS) — The boy seen in the picture with his grandmother and her friend passed out from a heroin overdose has found a new home.
According to NBC News, the 4-year-old will be going to live with his great aunt and great uncle in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
His grandmother, Rhonda Pasek, 50, is still in jail awaiting a trial on charges for child endangerment and public intoxication.
Pasek was granted custody of the boy just six weeks before she and James Lee Acord, 47, were arrested by East Liverpool, Ohio police. The city decided to make an example of the couple by posting the now-infamous photo of the two passed out in the vehicle to show 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.