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Police say fentanyl killed 8-year-old, not reaction to strawberries

The parents had taken their son to the hospital with a rash. A man has now been charged with manslaughter in the boy's death.
Police say fentanyl killed 8-year-old, not reaction to strawberries
Posted at 6:30 AM, Apr 12, 2024

An 8-year-old Kentucky boy died of a fentanyl overdose last month, not from eating a batch of strawberries, authorities said this week. The family had told police they believed the boy had an allergic reaction and took him to a hospital with a rash.

Police in the city of Madisonville charged 33-year-old Antonio M. Person with manslaughter on Wednesday after investigators determined the boy died of “fentanyl intoxication.”

Person was living in the same house as the boy and had fentanyl in the home, a Madisonville police report said, without elaborating on their relationship. Person was charged with drug trafficking and illegal gun possession in late March when police searched the home following the boy’s death.

When the boy developed the rash, his family gave him the antihistamine Benadryl and soaked him in a bath at home, but it did not go away, according to Madisonville police. The family took him to the emergency room but brought him home several hours later, according to police. He died the next morning on March 15.

The strawberries were sold at a high school fundraiser and the episode prompted the county's health department to issue an advisory to dispose of the fruit. On Tuesday, the Hopkins County health department said testing on samples of the strawberries by the Food and Drug Administration showed they were safe to eat.

Person is in custody at Hopkins County Jail on a $1 million bond for the manslaughter charge.

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