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Three-year-old child dies after ingesting fentanyl in Southwest Tallahassee; two adults charged

The woman charged is the child's mother
Posted at 2:54 PM, Mar 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-25 14:54:34-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Two people are now charged in the death of a three-year-old child in Southwest Tallahassee. Court documents show that child ingested fentanyl.

Cameren Lakayla Evans and Tony Jerome Balcom are both charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child. Balcom is also charged with possession of a firearm by convicted felon.

Probable cause documents dated March 18, 2024 detail what allegedly happened.

Documents state on January 23, 2023 at 10:02 a.m., Tallahassee Police Department and Leon County Emergency Service responded to Gibbs Mabry Village Apartments on Roberts Avenue. A guest in the apartment had called 911.

The 911 call was about a three-year-old child who was unresponsive. Law enforcement and medical personnel responded. The child was taken to Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare. The child was pronounced deceased at the hospital. The child’s body was still warm at the time and had no apparent signs of trauma, according to the court document.

At the scene, on the day police responded, Balcom experienced a panic attack and had to taken to an area hospital for sedation.

Police interviewed a witness who is friends with Balcom. That friend would sleep on Balcom’s couch from time to time.

Evans is the child’s mother. More than a year before the incident, Evans placed the child into Balcom’s care. TPD learned Balcom and the child lived together in the apartment. According to the court document, Balcom had separate bedrooms for himself and the child. The documents also detail how Evans would stop by the apartment and buy narcotics from Balcom.

Police said Balcom had several unsecured medications in the area of his bed, which the child had accessed and ingested before. Balcom’s friend told police between two and three months before the incident, Balcom had asked for help removing pills from the child’s mouth. The child was also known to play with Balcom’s medication bottles.

Balcom’s friend also told police on January 22, 2023, he, Balcom and the child were in the apartment together. That friend fell asleep on the couch. Around 2 a.m. on the 23rd, Balcom woke the friend up. Balcom told the friend the child had gotten sick and was wheezing, however, at that time, the friend saw the child sleeping in the child’s bed. The child did not appear to be wheezing. Shortly after, Evans came to the apartment and went into Balcom’s bedroom with Balcom. Ten to 15 minutes later, Evans left.

The friend told police Balcom had moved the child into Balcom’s bed. The child was wheezing. Brown then fell asleep again until Balcom woke up him again, panicked, and asking the friend to call 911. The child was not breathing.

Police also interviewed Evans who explained Balcom is not the child’s father. Despite this, Balcom and Evans co-parented the child. At the time of the incident, the child was 3-1/2 years old. The court document indicates the child was non-communicative and partially potty-trained. Evans said she knew the child would put potentially dangerous things in its mouth. Evans denied knowing that Balcom had any involvement with narcotics.

 The night the child died, Evans said she visited the apartment around midnight. Evans did not interact with the child and left. She then said she got several phone calls. One of those calls was a police officer who told her the child had been taken to the hospital. That’s when Evans came back to the apartment and was told the child had died. Evans told investigators she was unaware of any symptoms or health problems beyond the wheezing she witnessed just hours before.

Once Balcom woke up from his sedation, court documents detail how, at the hospital, he denied knowing if the child had ingested any medication or narcotics. He also denied narcotics would be present in his apartment.

 Investigators obtained and executed a search warrant for Balcom’s home. According to court documents, inside, the search revealed narcotics, including suspected cannabis and white powder crystalline substances packaged for sale. Scales and baggies commonly used for packaging narcotics were found. Loose pills were found in the kitchen. A handgun was also found. Balcom is considered a Florida Convicted Felon.

Several of the prescription pill bottles found in the apartment had no child resistant lids.

Court documents show an autopsy of the child was performed January 24, 2023. The toxicology results found the child had ingested fentanyl and acetaminophen. The Medical Examiner said the child died of fentanyl toxicity.

Court documents also show evidence that Evans knew Balcom had narcotics in his apartment. Despite this knowledge, investigators say Evans chose to leave her child at Balcom’s home and in Balcom’s care. The evidence detailed in those court documents led to the charges for both Balcom and Evans.