EVANSVILLE, Ind (WEHT) – Six people have been arrested after 3-year-old Kamari Opperman died after ingesting a Fentanyl pill.
Amber Opperman, Brandon Opperman, and Makaylee Opperman are are charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death. Makaylee is also charged with dealing a controlled substance.
Officers were called to a home on E Michigan St. Wednesday morning about a 3-year-old who wasn’t breathing. In the 911 call, the grandmother, Amber Opperman, said the child had taken a fentanyl the day before, but the child’s mother, Makaylee Opperman, had not taken the toddler to the hospital. In a police report, Makaylee says she didn’t take Kamari to the hospital because she was afraid she would be taken by child protective services.
While officers were at the home, they discovered Makaylee’s two other children, an infant and a two-year-old. Both were taken to the hospital. The two-year-old had to be given narcan. Both children are now in stable condition.
Officers then went to the home where Makaylee lived in the 3000 block of E Sycamore, which is where Kamari first ingested fentanyl the day before. They found a 4-year-old inside the home with no adults around, and narcotics in plain view. The child was taken to the hospital and given Narcan.
Allison Smithler, Makaylee’s half-sister, and Jazmynn Brown also lived at the home. Brown is the mother of the 4-year-old. Brown’s boyfriend, Arcinial Watt, also stayed at the home. All three are charged with dealing controlled substance. Smithler and Brown are also charged with neglect of a dependent. The 4-year-old who was found alone had been left in Smithler’s care earlier in the morning, according to an affidavit.
While searching the home, officers found more that 5,000 fentanyl pills as well as other illegal narcotics, paraphernalia, a handgun and ammunition. They believe all four children had been exposed to fentanyl.
In a press conference Thursday afternoon, Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann says he considers drug-related deaths, especially those linked to fentanyl, a crisis and one of the biggest problems facing Evansville and Vanderburgh County. He adds that he won’t be “naive” to think there wont be another tragedy like the one on E. Michigan Street, but he says people need to be better and more proactive against drugs in their families and their community.
Hermann commended officers who went around protocol to rush the children to the hospital. Hermann says that without their actions, they may have been facing multiple deaths related to their exposure.
Evansville Police Sergeant Anna Gray says it’s “easy” for people to turn a blind eye to adults overdosing on drugs like fentanyl but notes this incident should serve as a wakeup call for people and a warning to those who bring drugs into their homes along with their kids.
In the area around E. Sycamore Street, neighbors say they’re surprised at what happened. John Cassidy says he’s lived in the neighborhood for nearly 30 years and has never seen anything to the extent of what his family saw Wednesday. Still, he says his heart goes out to those affected and hopes “God will look out for them.”