Florida Toddler Overdoses on Cocaine During Neighborhood Walk; Couple Charged

A couple in Florida was recently arrested and charged with child neglect after a toddler in their care overdosed on cocaine.

According to a press release from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, the arrest stemmed from an initial call on January 8, when officers responded to a home in Venice, Florida, to assist the Sarasota County Fire Department "on a medical call involving an unconscious child who was not breathing." The child was only identified as being a 21-month-old.

Police said that when officers arrived to the residence along Park Road, they spoke with a 33-year-old woman identified as Kaitlyn Van Dorn. Upon arrival, the woman explained to police that she was on a "neighborhood walk" with the child, he picked up an unknown object and proceeded to put it in his mouth.

"The child then began stumbling and became limp before losing consciousness," the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said in the press release. "Emergency medical personnel administered three doses of Naloxone, the medication designed to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, which caused the child to quickly regain consciousness and become alert. The child was taken to the hospital for additional testing."

Kaitlyn Van Dorn
Mugshot of Kaitlyn Van Dorn, woman charged with child neglect after 21-month-old in her care overdosed on cocaine. Sarasota County Sheriff's Office/Sarasota County Sheriff's Office

After the child was taken to the hospital, police continued to speak with Van Dorn, who claimed that the child was using a teal bucket to pick up rocks during their walk. According to police, Van Dorn said that the child "may have picked up a needle cap along the route that she swatted out of his mouth."

After speaking with Van Dorn, police searched the area where she and the child went on their walk but were unable to locate the teal bucket Van Dorn mentioned or any drug paraphernalia.

Blake Pavey
Mugshot of Blake Pavey, man charged with child neglect after 21-month-old in her care overdosed on cocaine. Sarasota County Sheriff's Office/Sarasota County Sheriff's Office

When police returned to Van Dorn's residence, "she soon located the teal bucket behind a closed door and presented it to deputies." Police discovered a silver spoon and a tissue inside the bucket, which they said was "consistent with the ingestion of narcotics."

According to the press release, Van Dorn's partner, identified as 34-year-old Blake Pavey, told police that he did not go on the walk with her and the child but supported Van Dorn's claims that the child ingested an unknown object on their walk.

"Sheriff's office detectives launched an investigation in collaboration with the Department of Children and Families," police said in the press release. "After several months of trying to obtain hospital medical records related to the child's toxicity levels, detectives confirmed the child overdosed on cocaine."

Van Dorn and Pavey were arrested and charged on Saturday with child neglect. According to arrest records, Van Dorn was also charged with probation violation, while Pavey was released after posting $15,000 bond.

"Van Dorn remains in custody without bond related to a violation of probation charge," police said.

The child has not been in the couple's custody since the incident in January, according to police.

Newsweek was directed to the press release after reaching out to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office for comment.