Couple accused of giving “chilling pills” to their 3-year-old daughter who later died of overdose

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MILWAUKEE -- 34-year-old Margarita Balderas and 35-year-old Darrell Woodson, both of Milwaukee, each face a charge of second-degree reckless homicide - as a party to a crime. This, in connection with the death of their three-year-old daughter.

According to the criminal complaint, emergency responders were dispatched to a home near 71st and Glendale on the city's northwest side on Saturday, August 13th. When they arrived on the scene, they found three-year-old London Woodson unresponsive and administered CPR on her. The child was transported to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. London Woodson was declared brain-dead two days later, removed from life support and passed away.

Darrell Woodson, Margarita Balderas

Darrell Woodson, Margarita Balderas

The criminal complaint indicates the three-year-old girl died as a "result of complications from acute mixed drug toxicity," according to the medical examiner.

When police interviewed Margarita Balderas, she told them "London Woodson has never had a normal sleep pattern."

Darrell Woodson

Darrell Woodson

Darrell Woodson also told investigators London had "very odd sleeping patterns, staying up all night and sleeping during the daytime." During that same interview, Darrell Woodson said "approximately ten days ago a prescription bottle of oxycodone spilled in the bedroom of the residence. However, Darrell Woodson was confident he and Margarita Balderas picked up all of the spilled pills."

On February 12th, Milwaukee police received word that Balderas' children were in foster care. After being in foster care, the surviving children "were reporting drug abuse by Margarita Balderas and Darrell Woodson during the time of London Woodson's collapse and subsequent death." Based on that information, investigators arranged to interview the three surviving children.

Margarita Balderas

Margarita Balderas

The complaint indicates the oldest child, age 14, told police Balderas and Woodson "would break off pieces of prescription pills and give the pills to London Woodson in order to get London Woodson to sleep. Both defendants did this on multiple occasions. After London Woodson would take the pill, the defendants would say, 'Yay, good job!'" The 14-year-old also said "the defendant would either use medication that was prescribed to one of the older children, or the defendants used 'street medicine.'"

While at Children's Hospital and before London Woodson's death, the complaint indicates "Darrell Woodson stared at (the 14-year-old child). (The 14-year-old child) knew what Darrell Woodson's stare meant, 'don't snitch.'" Subsequently the child did not say anything at that time.

The second and third children were also interviewed by police. One said Balderas and Woodson "would give the children 'sleeping pills' and 'chilling pills.'" The other child said "Darrell Woodson kept the medicine on a dresser and London Woodson ate it." The child also mentioned the "defendants would put the medicine in London's mouth and then give London a bottle."

Balderas and Woodson are due in court on Tuesday morning, March 7th for their preliminary hearings.

If convicted, Balderas and Woodson face up to 25 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.


  • m.

    This is INSANE! My child has never had a normal sleeping pattern and she will be 4 this summer. She never slept through the night, not ONCE, until she was 2 1/2. Even now, she is randomly up at all hours and is (in my opinion) a bonafide insomniac. Yet even in the throes of incredible sleep deprivation on my part (as a single parent not being able to split nighttime responsibility), I never, NEVER once even CONSIDERED giving her medication to make her sleep. I’ve just sucked it up and made another pot of coffee and cuddled with her until she would finally drift back off to sleep (even if it took 2 hours after waking). This story blows my mind! This poor, innocent child. The parents will get what they deserve on judgement day.

    • Malai

      You should have been the parent of that precious little angel.. good parenting on your part! This story sickens me because I can’t have children I would gladly stay up with her throughout the night when she couldn’t sleep.


    If you can’t handle the responsibility of having a child-then don’t breed! Selfish, ignorant, poor excuses for life-these two…. Absolute losers!!!!! Too bad Wis doesn’t have the death penalty-especially when children are involved. I don’t have alot of faith in our judicial system but hope it prevails in this case and sets a precedence! -MY GOD!!!!! So sad for the child-didn’t have a chance with those parents….

    Completely agree with “M.” yeah at times with babies/toddlers we have rough nights but that is what you signed up for becoming a parent. Be it good times/bad times but that child is your #1 priority! That is what parenting is all about – AND Enjoy every moment!! GOOD AND BAD-that’s what memories are made of…. Nurture that precious child-as that all they have to protect them-YOU!!! Protect them and keep them safe and healthy. They will grow up to make you proud and why you raised them.

    These two need the full extent of the law and need to be removed from society FOREVER!!
    They had a chance, made their choices-now they need their freedom eliminated due to their actions.

  • Theresa Mendez

    So sad, ugh how could they do such a thing. Im horrified. They need to be put away n throw that key away.

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