Florida cops have charged a couple with aggravated manslaughter after their two-year-old daughter died of a fentanyl overdose.
The incident took place in Marion County in the US state of Florida on 13th June and the couple were already detained when they were charged over the death of their daughter. They are suspected of being drug dealers, with at least one of them charged with murder for dealing fentanyl.
The couple, named as Joseph Arthur Tierney, 36, and Jalynn Nichole Davis, 36, were in jail on unrelated charges when the Marion County authorities charged them with the aggravated manslaughter of their daughter Miya Tierney.
The parents told the police that they found the girl unresponsive after putting her in bed 30 minutes before.
Officers found the girl unresponsive upon arrival at the scene, and she was taken to hospital where doctors pronounced her dead.
In August, the autopsy results showed that the two-year-old girl had fentanyl in her stomach and ruled that she passed away due to fentanyl toxicity, according to the police.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says that fentanyl, a strong opioid, can be 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) said in a statement: “On June 13, 2021, Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) deputies responded to 22647 SE Hwy 42 in Umatilla in reference to a 2-year-old female who was unresponsive. Upon arrival, deputies and paramedics administered CPR to the victim, Miya Tierney (W/F, DOB: 3/23/2019). Miya was transported to the hospital where she was pronounced deceased.”
The police added that the young girl’s parents called 911 after noticing that their child was unresponsive. The police said: “MCSO Major Crimes Detective John Lightle began his investigation into Miya’s death. During interviews with her parents, Davis and Tierney, they stated that Miya had been asleep in a bed. Davis and Tierney stated that they left her alone in the bedroom for 30 minutes, and upon their return they found her unresponsive, at which time they called 911.”
The police later discovered that the young girl had died of a drugs overdose, saying: “In August 2021, Detective Lightle received Miya’s autopsy results. The Medical Examiner determined Miya’s cause of death to be ‘Fentanyl Toxicity’. Miya’s stomach contents tested positive for fentanyl.”
The cops said that the young girl’s parents had failed to protect her and that they were responsible for the two-year-old ingesting the deadly drugs, saying: “Detective Lightle’s continued investigation revealed that Davis sold fentanyl and that Tierney was an active user of fentanyl. Based upon the investigation, probable cause was developed that Davis and Tierney were criminally responsible for Miya’s death based upon their having brought her to a known drug location and by failing to protect her from the fentanyl present at the location.”
The police said that the young girl’s dad was already in prison at the time he was charged over his daughter’s death. The police said: “At the time of Tierney’s arrest, he was already in the Marion County Jail for charges of Tampering with a Witness in a Capital Felony Proceeding and Aggravated Assault. He is being held on No Bond.”
The police statement also said that the young girl’s mother was also in prison at the time she was charged, saying: “Davis is presently being held on no bond in the Lake County Jail for separate offenses committed in Lake County, including Murder (for a death caused by her unlawful distribution of fentanyl), Possession of Fentanyl, Possession of Methamphetamine, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. She will be served with the newly issued warrant upon her return to Marion County.”
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods is quoted in the statement as saying: “For years, law enforcement has been battling the opioid epidemic here in Marion County, throughout the United States, and at our country’s borders.”
He added: “The senseless death of this innocent child is the ultimate tragedy, and it should serve as a reminder of why we must continue our fight to keep opiates out of our communities.”