A Florida couple was arrested Wednesday after their 8-month-old son died of an apparent fentanyl and cocaine overdose.
According to WKMG, David Williams Chappele Jr., 29, and Jessica Marie Strickland, 27, were arrested eight months after officers found their son, Tanner, unresponsive at their Brevard County home on September 6, 2017. The child was pronounced dead later that night.
On the night in question, Strickland and Chappele had reportedly placed a mattress on the living room floor to sleep with their son and awoke to find the baby unresponsive.
A statement from the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office said an autopsy determined the 8-month-old’s cause of death was a cocaine and fentanyl overdose.
Detectives have accused the Florida father of wearing multiple fentanyl patches which were cut in half. They believe he wore these patches while cradling Tanner, resulting in a lethal amount of fentanyl being transferred to the infant, Florida Today reported.
According to an affidavit obtained by the newspaper, Tanner had ingested cocaine as Strickland was using it while caring for him. Tanner had also teethed on his mother’s fingers—which police believe had cocaine residue on them.
Strickland’s cousin, Mary Carpenter, told WKMG that she had called Department of Children and Families three weeks before Tanner’s death regarding drug use in the Cocoa home. It’s not immediately known what came from that call.
Strickland and Chappele have been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child. According to Florida Today, Chappele is being held without bail while Strickland is being held on $15,000 bail.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in this case for their detailed investigation and presentation to the State Attorney’s Office who approved the arrest warrants today resulting in the judge’s authorization for arrest,” Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in the statement.
“It truly takes special and dedicated people to investigate and prosecute these types of cases all in an effort to protect our children.”
[Featured image: David Chappele Jr., Jessica Strickland, and Tanner/Facebook]