Woman gets up to 12 years for poisoning children with eye drops

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GETTYSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A former Adams County woman has been sentenced to three-and-a-half to 12 years in prison for poisoning her two young children with Visine eye drops.

Samantha Elizabeth Unger, 23, will also spend seven years on probation following her release as part of the sentence handed down Tuesday by Adams County Judge William George.

Unger pleaded guilty to counts of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children in January.

Authorities said Unger admitted she put Visine in her 3-year-old son’s water and juice while she lived in Orrtanna. She also told police her 1-year-old son twice became ill after he accidentally consumed the poisoned drinks she made for his brother.

According to the criminal complaint, the 3-year-old was hospitalized with life threatening symptoms several times. The boy’s urine ultimately positive for tetrahydrozoline, the chemical commonly used in eye drops and nasal sprays.

Unger told investigators she did not keep track of how much Visine she used, but admitted she used more than one bottle, police said in the complaint.

Tetrahydrozoline poisoning can cause seizures, nausea and vomiting, changes in blood pressure, increased heart rate, blurred vision, difficulty breathing and coma, according to the National Institutes of Health.

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