MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Two Florida parents are in jail after deputies say their 2-year-old child died of a fentanyl overdose.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said that Joseph Tierney and Jalynn Davis were arrested on Tuesday for Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child in connection with the death of their daughter.
They said that on June 13, 2021, deputies responded to a Umatilla residence in reference to a 2-year-old girl who was unresponsive. Deputies and paramedics administered CPR to the victim and she was transported to a hospital, where she was pronounced deceased.
An investigation was said to be launched into the death of the 2-year-old.
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"During interviews with her parents, Davis and Tierney, they stated that [the child] 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 sheriff’s office said.
In August, they said that detectives received the autopsy results. The 2-year-old's cause of death was determined to be fentanyl toxicity. Her stomach contents tested positive for fentanyl.
Detectives said that the investigation into the girl’s death revealed that Davis sold fentanyl and that Tierney was an active user of fentanyl. Probable cause was developed that the parents were criminally responsible for the toddler’s death. They said that they brought the child to a known drug location and failed to protect her from the fentanyl present at the location.
At the time of Tierney’s arrest, the sheriff’s office said that he was already in jail for charges of Tampering with a Witness in a Capital Felony Proceeding and Aggravated Assault. He is being held on no bond. Davis is also now being held on no bond in jail.
"For years, law enforcement has been battling the opioid epidemic here in Marion County, throughout the United States, and at our country’s borders. 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," Sheriff Billy Woods said. "Everybody should know that if you or somebody you know uses drugs and wants to get clean, our community has resources available to help you."
Sheriff Woods added, "But let me be perfectly clear, if you are using drugs or selling drugs, and if somebody overdoses or dies as a result, me and my deputies will do everything we can to hold you accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
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