Saturday, February 17, 2018
Public safety

Hudson man charged in teen's overdose death

HUDSON — Shortly after her parents went to bed, in the early hours of May 31, Kaleigh Tzobanakis slipped out of the house.

The 15-year-old walked a short way down her street to a waiting minivan. Ken Humphrey whisked her back to his house to join his daughter at a party where, deputies say, he would give the girls drugs whenever they asked. Lots of drugs. Enough to kill.

At the party, Humphrey, 56, sat nearby as Kaleigh and other teens took Coricidin Cold and Cough medicine, or "triple C," according to Pasco sheriff's Detective Chet Cougill. The teens put the pills in drinks then shook them to get the coating off and release the dosage. Eventually, they ran out.

They went to Humphrey for more.

He grabbed methadone pills from his bedroom — no prescription, Cougill said — and passed them around. The party went on.

About 3 a.m., the girls asked Humphrey to take one of them to Walmart on U.S. 19. There, Cougill said, Humphrey bought two more boxes of triple Cs, 16 tablets each.

Back at the party at 13318 White Walnut St., the girls took more of the medicine, combined with the methadone. Kaleigh passed out and began having trouble breathing.

At 6:30 a.m., someone from the house called 911. An ambulance took Kaleigh to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, then she was flown to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg

She hung on with life support another day. But at 10 a.m. June 1, Kaleigh was pronounced dead.

Medical examiners would later determine the cause of death as multi-drug toxicity. Detectives started asking questions.

"We felt that if he would have acted properly, as a good parent, this could have all been avoided," Cougill said.

Humphrey's daughter finally told detectives what happened. Detectives got a warrant, pulled him over Wednesday morning and arrested him on a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child, the first time the charge has been implemented in such a way in Pasco County.

"If you're contributing to somebody's addiction, which leads to their death, now we're going to charge you with manslaughter," Sheriff Chris Nocco said. "We've got another tool in our arsenal to go after them."

Humphrey remained in the Land O'Lakes jail Wednesday in lieu of $250,000 bail. Detectives are still questioning him about where he got the methadone, Nocco said.

Kaleigh's parents could not be reached for this story.

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Contact Alex Orlando at [email protected] or (727) 869-6247.

 
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