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FOX 17 Investigates: Toddler dies of fentanyl toxicity, 'Who's gonna be next?'

FOX 17 Investigates: Toddler dies of fentanyl toxicity, 'Who's gonna be next?' (Photo submitted to WZTV courtesy Ariel Rose's family)
FOX 17 Investigates: Toddler dies of fentanyl toxicity, 'Who's gonna be next?' (Photo submitted to WZTV courtesy Ariel Rose's family)
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Metro Police are still investing the negligent homicide case of 23-month-old Ariel Rose who died from fentanyl toxicity.

Ariel died at a housing facility back in November but had been seen at Brookmeade Park homeless encampment months before. The child's family feels the system and community members failed her.

The autopsy for Ariel reveals the toddler had more than 12 times the lowest reported lethal dose of fentanyl in her system.

Rose's grandfather and uncle, Mickey and Michael Rose, have been seeking justice for their girl ever since.

“Who’s gonna be next? Your granddaughter? Your grandson? No. Incompetent is the word I have for them,” says Mickey.

Months prior to her death at a rapid rehousing facility in North Nashville, Ariel had been spotted at Brookmeade Park, one of the largest Nashville homeless encampments at the time, known for crime and drugs.

Our FOX 17 News investigation revealed family members, Metro's Homeless Impact Division, nonprofits, and Metro Police all reported Ariel at Brookmeade Park to the Department of Children's Services.

The family feels the staff at DCS never took any real action to protect her.

While DCS cannot comment on specific cases, FOX 17 News spoke with the Executive Director for the Office of Child Safety, Amy Koslick.

“I have spoken with a few families who believe calls to DCS go without a response or action when it comes to addressing their concern for a child they may see somewhere. Is there anything being done to address that?” asks FOX 17 News’ Amanda Chin.

ALSO READ: Grandfather of toddler who died from fentanyl plans to file lawsuit

“I’m very proud to say our commissioner has worked really hard to get additional staff members, the hiring rate has increased, so we are seeing an increase in case management staff,” says Koslick.

“Can you talk about what’s being done here in Middle Tennessee to try and keep children away from dangerous drugs, especially fentanyl?” asks Chin.

“We have created several workshops throughout the state, and we do educational workshops, and we invite community partners, internal, and external. We do this collaboratively, so we all understand what’s going on in our communities and we understand exactly what needs to be done to help keep the children safe,” says Koslick.

According to The Metro Health Department, from January until the end of March, fentanyl drug overdoses were detected in about 75 percent of those deaths.

Koslick says that number is very alarming.

“We know there’s a correlation between drugs and homelessness, and homeless camps. What’s being done in regard to homelessness?” asks Chin.

“Homeless camps are looked at. We know that they’re not safe. If it’s a homeless camp itself, we would generally look at a different alternative for safety reasons for that child to be placed somewhere else,” says Koslick.

But Ariel’s grandfather and uncle also believe the owner of the property she died at and the company managing the property also need to be held accountable.

Mickey and Michael’s attorney, Gerard Stranch, believes the tenant and owner have a duty and an obligation to provide a safe place for those folks, and they utterly failed.

“No child should be around that level of fentanyl. I mean this is enough it would’ve killed multiple humans. I mean it could kill a horse, a cow. I mean this is a huge dose of fentanyl that no child should’ve had any access to whatsoever,” says Stranch.

"And ultimately, the family feels like her death could have been prevented?” asks Chin.

“Oh absolutely. This was a needless death,” says Stranch.

The tenant, Community Care Fellowship, tells FOX 17 News in a statement:

“For almost 40 years Community Care Fellowship (CCF) has been serving people experiencing homelessness in addition to other marginalized persons in the Nashville area. The circumstances involving Ariel Rose took place while she had been entrusted to the care of family friends by family members. Those friends were residents of a private residential unit furnished to them under a lease agreement by CCF. Ariel was spending the night in that unit, along with the family friends. We have cooperated with the police investigation on this matter. CCF staff have expressed their sympathy and support to the family.”

The owner of the property, KNGDM Group, tells FOX 17 News in a statement:

“We were deeply saddened by the news of Ariel Rose’s passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to her family. As a mission-driven company, we often work with churches, nonprofits, and other organizations who are helping serve our local community and its needs. KNGDM Group is the owner of the building at issue. Since June 2021, Community Care Fellowship has leased this building and provides all resident intake, engagement and services. KNGDM Group has no involvement in Community Care Fellowship’s management of the program. We hope this tragic situation will lead to greater systemic changes in how Nashville addresses homelessness and drug addiction in our community.”

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