Boy home, woman charged in Berkeley playground meth case

A television news crew works on a story at People’s Park, in Berkeley, on Tuesday. A woman was arrested at the park on Monday on suspicion of attempted murder after she put methamphetamine into a 2-year-old boy’s mouth, police said. Photo: David Yee

A little boy who was hospitalized, after someone put methamphetamine in his mouth Monday at a Berkeley park, has been released home, and the woman arrested in the case has been charged with two felonies, authorities report.

The 2-year-old Oakland boy was with his nanny on the playground at People’s Park when a stranger walked up to him and put the drugs in his mouth, police said Tuesday. The woman was arrested and the little boy was taken to the hospital. He was admitted for treatment after it was determined he had ingested methamphetamine, police said.

Many community members sent their wishes for a speedy and full recovery for the little boy. As of Wednesday afternoon, he had been released from the hospital, said Sgt. Sabrina Reich, spokeswoman for the University of California Police Department at Berkeley.

“The child is home and resting,” Reich said.


Wednesday, the Alameda County district attorney’s office charged Sayyadina Thomas, 36, of Oakland with felony child endangerment and giving a controlled substance to a minor on a playground. Thomas had been arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide, but that was not the charge that ultimately was filed.

Her next scheduled court appearance has not yet been posted online.

Thomas, who grew up in Alameda, has been arrested numerous times in Alameda County since 2002. Some of those arrests have sent her to jail.

One Bay Area resident, writing on Berkeleyside, said she had known Thomas since age 14, and said there had been numerous obstacles in the woman’s life: “The neglect, abuse, and trauma she’s survived would test anyone’s sanity… This is more than tragic… She was the most brilliant young rapper/writer/poet I’d ever known, and had a wit and heart that it pains me to see dissipate. I’m praying for her and will do what I can to see that she gets help.”

Thomas herself wrote in an essay on Alternet in 2003 about the significant challenges of growing up with a mother who was a prostitute who struggled with drug use. She said she was raped at gunpoint at age 12 when she lived in a group home in East Oakland.


Berkeleyside has requested additional information from the district attorney’s office, and will update this story if it becomes available.