A Houston mother has been arrested after investigators found that she used drugs to kill her 6-year-old son last year in order to collect his insurance money.
Ashley Marks, 25, has been charged with capital murder in connection with the death of her son Jason Sanchez-Marks. The charge is tied to an incident that took place last year in which Jason died of an apparent overdose.
Marks Administered Jason with a Cocktail of Toxic Drugs
According to court documents, Ashley allegedly administered Jason toxic amounts of chlorpheniramine, dextromethorphan, diphenhydramine with methamphetamine on June 27, 2020, eventually leading to his death.
Chlorpheniramine is a common over-the-counter antihistamine, Diphenhydramine is an allergy medicine, Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant while methamphetamine or meth is a recreational drug. An autopsy also revealed that Jason had been exposed to cocaine, according to a report from the Texas Child Protective Services.
According to the report from Child Protective Services, Jason and his youngr sister had been staying with their grandfather for about two months when they fell ill with tuberculosis. Ashley came to the home and administered medication to Jason but his sister refused to take it, as per the report. Over the next two days, Jason's condition deteriorated with vomiting, hallucinations, and insomnia. Ashley administered Jason some more Jason NyQuil, according to the report. He died a couple of days later.
According to the manufacturer, NyQuil should not be given to children under 12 years old. Ashley's grandfather, Adam Marks, told police that Jason started experiencing hallucinations after taking his mother's medicine and "believed there were bugs on his clothing."
Son's Life Insurance Policies were Taken Out a Month Before his Death
Ashley appeared before a judge on Thursday, April 1, where prosecutors read the charge against her in court. According to prosecutors, Ashley killed her son to collect on two life insurance policies in his name totalling $100,000. The policies were taken out about a month before Jason's death.
Ashley has a history of drug abuse and addiction and has previously deceived her family for money, according to Gilbert Sawtelle, the Harris County Assistant District Attorney.
"She asked her father for money for cancer treatment and represented to her family that she had cancer. When her father asked her for the receipt for that, she produced a fake receipt from Texas Oncology," Sawtelle told Click2Houston. "Her father also called Texas Oncology and they had no record of her receiving treatment there, and she later admitted to police that she faked that receipt."
Sawtelle added that Ashley told investigators that she was not familiar with life insurance, but they later discovered that she was a licensed insurance agent.
"It turns out she is a licensed insurance agent in the state of Texas," Sawtelle said. "She specializes in life insurance...That was a big clue that this was not an accidental death."