EVANSVILLE — A 3-year-old child is dead and three other children were hospitalized after they reportedly ingested fentanyl pills left inside a nightstand at a  home in Evansville, Indiana, police said.

Evansville police arrested six people on Wednesday in connection with the incident, including the deceased child’s mother, grandmother and grandfather. Two others are accused of dealing the narcotics that led to the child’s death. Another, identified as the mother’s half-sister, is accused of neglect after she reportedly failed to watch one of the children who ingested the pills.

According to jail records, Makaylee Jade Opperman (20), Amber Michelle Opperman (32) and Brandon Keith Opperman (39) are each preliminarily accused of neglecting a dependent causing the death. Makaylee also faces a drug crime.

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Allison Marcia Smithler (22) and Jazmynn Brown (23) are facing drug and neglect charges. Arcinial Mont Watt (33) is being charged with two counts of dealing with controlled substances.

According to the arrest affidavit for all six and a 911 call obtained by the Courier & Press, police were called to a home in Evansville just after 8 a.m. Wednesday for a report of a “baby not breathing.”

Amber Opperman, who identified herself as the 3-year-old child’s grandmother, told police the child had “got hold of a fentanyl pill.”

Unresponsive, emergency personnel found the child on a couch.

“(The child) was under a cover as if sleeping,” authorities wrote, but had been dead for some time.  

Detectives were told by Amber Opperman that her stepdaughter, Makaylee Opperman (mother of the child), called her Tuesday at 6:30 pm to say her children had possibly obtained the drug. Makaylee Opperman claimed that she had told her to bring the children to the hospital. No one did.

According to the affidavit, Makaylee brought the kids to Amber’s home about three hours later before going to work.

Amber said she was upset that the kids hadn’t been taken to the hospital, but her husband and Makaylee’s father, 39-year-old Brandon Opperman, reportedly told Makaylee to bring the kids to the home instead.

When investigators asked Amber Opperman why she didn’t take the kids to the hospital herself, she said she thought she needed the parents’ permission to do so.

“Amber stated all three children seemed fine,” police wrote in the affidavit. “… They all went to bed and were woken by screaming the next morning.”

Police arrived at the scene and took all of the children to the hospital. Investigators later received word that one of the children “wasn’t doing very well” and had to be given Narcan. The children’s condition improved.

Makaylee said that she lived with Allison Smithler and Jazmynn Brown in another house during interviews with detectives.

Makaylee said she’d been there Tuesday and “located an empty baggie on the floor inside her room and then later found a pill that was pressed (Fentanyl),” the affidavit states. When she went to get her children ready to go to Amber and Brandon Opperman’s house, three pills fell out of one of the surviving children’s blankets.

“At that point she believed the children that live inside the home … had gotten into Jazmynn Brown’s room and got the pills from her nightstand,” the affidavit states.

Brown revealed to police that Arcinial, her boyfriend brought the pills into the house during an interview. Brown said that she sold drugs sometimes to anyone who was able to come to her home. Investigators were able to obtain a warrant for search and found over 5,000 pills in the home.

When police first arrived, the affidavit states, they also discovered a fourth juvenile alone at the home. Smithler said that Smithler was not supposed to have been watching the juvenile but she went to visit a friend.

Investigators suspect that the child may have also taken fentanyl. The child was taken to the hospital and “had to be given Narcan after his condition declined.”

According to the affidavit, Watt told police that the drugs the children took belonged to his. Makaylee Smithler, and Smithler reportedly said that Brown runs the drug operations at their home.

Contact Jon Webb at [email protected] 

Source: USAToday.com

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