SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has charged a Venice couple with child neglect after a 21-month-old child in their care consumed cocaine.
Deputies were initially called on Jan. 8 just before 5 p.m., to a home along Park Road in Venice to assist the Sarasota County Fire Department on a medical call involving an unconscious child who was not breathing.
When first responders arrived, Kaitlyn Van Dorn, 33 told deputies that while on a neighborhood walk, the child picked up an unknown object from the ground and put it in his mouth. The child then began stumbling and became limp before losing consciousness.
Emergency medical personnel administered three doses of Naloxone, the medication designed to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The child quickly regained consciousness and became alert. The child was taken to the hospital for additional testing.
As deputies spoke with Van Dorn, she explained the child was picking up rocks around the neighborhood using a teal bucket. Van Dorn said the child may have picked up a needle cap along the route that she swatted out of his mouth.
Deputies returned to Van Dorn’s home where she soon located the teal bucket behind a closed door and presented it to deputies. Inside the bucket was a silver spoon and a used tissue, both items consistent with the ingestion of drugs.
Later that evening, DCF conducted a visit at the home with deputies and located a crack pipe in the home. The spoon tested positive for cocaine and Fentanyl while the pipe tested positive for cocaine.
Van Dorn’s partner, Blake Pavey, 34, told deputies he did not accompany Van Dorn on the walk but supported Van Dorn’s story that the child must have ingested something in the neighborhood.
“We were unable to recover any sign of a walk even taking place. So based on our investigation, we believe strongly that the child ingested those narcotics inside the home,” said SCSO spokesperson Kaitlyn Perez.
Detectives launched an investigation in collaboration with the Department of Children and Families. After several months of trying to obtain hospital medical records related to the child’s toxicity levels, detectives confirmed the child overdosed on cocaine.
The child has not been in the care of either parent since January.
8 On Your Side spoke to Blake Pavey who would not go on camera but said it was “a horrible accident.” He would not go into the details about how the toddler had ingested the drugs.
“My heart breaks for that child.,” said Perez. “Our detectives see things like this all the time, but it is particularly difficult when it involves a child. An innocent, helpless child who should not be in the environment that he has been forced to be in,” she continued.
Warrants were issued for the arrests of Van Dorn and Pavey, on Saturday, both were taken into custody. Pavey was released on a $15,000 bond while Van Dorn remains in custody without bond, related to a charge for violating drug offender probation.