Woman, man charged with child neglect after girl ODs on fentanyl: JSO

A man and woman are facing child neglect charges after a young girl overdosed on fentanyl and had to be given multiple doses of Narcan, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man and woman are facing child neglect charges after a young girl overdosed on fentanyl and had to be given multiple doses of Narcan, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

The child was unresponsive and her lips were blue when she was taken to UF Health North on Friday by Saige Freese, 24 and Alexis Burnette, 27, according to investigators.

The girl tested positive for fentanyl and was given multiple doses of Narcan during her initial treatment, according to police. She was then taken to Wolfson Children’s Hospital for further treatment.

Her current condition was not released.

Freese and Burnette told police they were driving to a methadone clinic when they stopped at a gas station and a man they knew came up to the car. They said shortly after leaving the gas station, they realized the girl wasn’t breathing and took her to the hospital.

Lori Osachy, who is a counselor and licensed clinical social worker, explains methadone use. “Methadone is an approved drug that’s used to help people wean off more dangerous and highly addictive drugs -- and it can be very, very successful.”

Freese and Burnette both gave urine samples to police that tested positive for fentanyl, according to their arrest reports.

When officers checked surveillance footage from the gas station, they found the story about someone approaching the car while they were there was not true.

Freese and Burnette both made statements to JSO that were redacted and were subsequently charged with child neglect with great bodily harm. They are being held on a $100,000 bond.

Burnette was also charged with child neglect in 2019 when police were called to her house for a well-being check. According to that report, they found Freese passed out in a car in the driveway with a little girl in the child seat playing with a cellphone.

Freese said the child was Burnette’s, not his. Officers found Burnette passed out in the house, and she told police she thought her daughter was at day care.

Burnette pleaded no contest, was placed on 36 months of probation and ordered to enter drug treatment. Since then, she’s been charged twice with violation of probation.

Osachy says the disease of addiction can lead to child neglect. “It’s an epidemic in this country. And, you know, it affects people of all races, classes, socioeconomic levels. It’s not it does not discriminate, and it’s definitely very powerful. That’s why we have to support treatment and not stigmatize it.”

No official word on how the child is doing. We’ve reached out to DCF. We will let you know if we hear anything from them.


About the Author:

I-TEAM and general assignment reporter