Mom details son's issues at camp-death trial

14-year-old's dehydration linked to medication

Arizona Republic/November 5, 2004
By Michael Kiefer

A distraught mother told a Maricopa County Superior Court jury Thursday how her son's emotional problems drove her to seek help from a tough-love boot camp where he later died.

Melanie Hudson testified in the trial of Charles Long, who is charged with second-degree murder in the 2001 death of Hudson's 14-year-old son, Anthony Haynes.

And even as she described her frustrations with a child out of control, she detailed the medications and medical conditions that may have contributed to his death.

Guided by the questions of Deputy County Attorney Kristen Larish, Hudson told how Haynes suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; he took one medication for that and another to control his anger and anxiety. One of those had taxed his liver to the point that he was at risk of jaundice and was going to discontinue taking the medication as soon as he finished his planned five-week desert-endurance camp.

"With the medicines he was taking, he needed water," Hudson said, "lots of water."

On cross-examination by Long's defense attorney, JoAnn Garcia, Hudson admitted that she had not written that down on her son's medical information form, but had verbally relayed it to Long's organization.

Haynes weighed 216 pounds and used a hearing aid. He was doing poorly in school and had been on probation for shoplifting.

Mental health professionals referred Hudson to Long's Buffalo Soldiers Re-Enactors Association and she enrolled her son in weekend drills in Scottsdale. On two successive weekends, Haynes tried to avoid going to the drills by putting nails in the tires of his mother's car.

At wit's end, Hudson asked Long for help and he arranged a scholarship for the boy to attend the summer camp.

When Larish asked why Hudson would send a boy who needed extra water to a camp in the desert near Buckeye, she responded, "I understood they were going to be in a higher elevation at Saguaro Lake and at Fort Huachuca."

Saguaro Lake is at an elevation of 1,529 feet, only about 400 feet higher than Phoenix; Fort Huachuca is above 4,800 feet.

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