Enfield man charged after fentanyl death of 1-year-old child

Police said officers responded to a home on North Maple Street in Enfield on Nov. 22, 2021.
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 6:43 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2022 at 9:08 AM EST
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ENFIELD, CT (WFSB) – An Enfield man was charged after his child died from fentanyl last year.

Police said officers responded to a home on North Maple Street in Enfield on Nov. 22, 2021 to investigate the untimely death of the 1-year-old child.

When they arrived, they were told that the child had been in his crib for a nap. His father, 30-year-old Lenin Rodriguez, found him unresponsive, according to his arrest warrant.

Rodriguez has told police that the baby smelled like he had thrown up.

“Upon arrival CPR was initiated on the 1-year-old and that child, that boy, was transported to Baystate Hospital for medical care,” said Chief Alaric Fox, Enfield Police Department.

However, the baby was pronounced dead on arrival, the warrant said.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner later ruled the child’s cause of death as “acute fentanyl intoxication,” police said.

Police said the child was somehow able to ingest the deadly drug.

“Under the circumstances we believe them to be, this is characterized as an accidental death, a negligent death, in terms of the legal mindset,” Fox said.

The child ingested enough of the deadly drug that the medical examiner said the victim would only be able to live for several minutes.

From the arrest warrant

The mother stated that she had put the child down for a nap that day before she left to pick up her other child from school.

She returned home later and figured the child was still asleep. She said the child usually slept 2 and a half hours for naps.

The mother prepared to make dinner while Rodriguez brought up Christmas decorations. She asked him to check on their son.

He came back and stated that the baby was cold and not breathing.

The mother immediately dialed 911, according to the warrant.

The child had no known prior medical issues.

However, the medical examiner’s toxicology report revealed a “lethal level of fentanyl” in the victim’s system.

Investigators asked the mother if she knew of any drugs in the home. She told them that she and her husband occasionally smoked marijuana, but that was it. She denied even knowing what fentanyl was.

In the warrant, she revealed that Rodriguez had an issue with Percocet in the past. He admitted to her that he was addicted to pills and checked himself in to a hospital for addiction.

However, the mother said she believed Rodriguez got over it.

Investigators eventually requested that both parents submit to drug tests. The warrant showed that the mother was negative for fentanyl. Rodriguez, however, was positive.

Charges in the case

Rodriguez turned himself in to police Wednesday on an active arrest warrant.

Rodriguez was charged with criminally negligent homicide and risk of injury to a minor.

He has a $50,000 bond and is due in court on Nov. 29.

A local fentanyl problem

Experts said the drug is deadly no matter the age.

“What’s getting out on the street is illicit fentanyl and it’s made in a laboratory. This kind of fentanyl is anywhere from 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin,” said John Lally, executive director of Today I Matter, inc.

In Enfield, fentanyl has killed several people. Officials said they get reports of three or four Narcan saves per week. Narcan reverses the effects of an overdose.

“In the calendar year 2021 we have had 10 overdose drug deaths, per the Office of the Chief Medical Examiners, and 7 of them involved fentanyl,” said Ellen Zoppo-Sassu, Town Manager.

The town said people need to be educated on the drug which is why they are hosting a workshop on Dec. 6.

The Enfield Town Manager released a statement on the incident:

Experts said if people need any help with substance abuse, they can call 211 for local services.

An Enfield man is facing charges after his child died from fentanyl last year.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner later ruled the child’s cause of death as “acute fentanyl intoxication,” said police.