Police officers responding to a call in Cocoa, Florida, were devastated to discover an 8-month-old child overdosing on illegal drugs. The child was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital, but medical staff were unable to save the youngster.
The police officers from Brevard County Sheriff’s Office stayed behind to investigate the medical concerns of the young baby. They questioned the father, 29-year-old David Chappele Jr, and mother, 27-year-old Jessica Strickland who were both present at the scene. Investigators determined the tired parents had decided to place a mattress on the floor with the baby between the two adults on the bed.
Chappele was wearing several fentanyl patches throughout the night which ultimately transferred onto the young child. The fentanyl residue was fatal for him. The parents woke later to find him unresponsive, so they quickly dialed 911. Autopsy reports confirmed the eight-month-old’s death was caused by drug overdose. Medical examiners discovered the child also had cocaine in his system. The mother, Strickland, later admitted that the baby may have ingested some cocaine at the home.
Both parents were arrested and charged with aggravated manslaughter for failing to protect their infant from the dangerous drugs. Both were transported to the Brevard County Jail Complex, but Chappele was later released on bail.
Grieving relatives of the child have reached out to news journalists. Strickland’s cousin, Marcy Carpenter, alleges that she notified the Department of Children and Families about the dangerous situation about three weeks prior to this incident. She is heartbroken that the agency was unable to take action before the child was harmed.