Brandon toddler, 15 months old, died from fentanyl poisoning, autopsy says

Her parents were later arrested on drug-related charges but no charges have been filed in the death. The autopsy results were released Feb. 21, four months after the death.
Ivy White was pronounced dead at a hospital Oct. 5 after she was found unresponsive at her Brandon home. An autopsy determined fentanyl poisoning was the cause of death.
Ivy White was pronounced dead at a hospital Oct. 5 after she was found unresponsive at her Brandon home. An autopsy determined fentanyl poisoning was the cause of death. [ Facebook ]
Published March 4, 2022

BRANDON — A 15-month-old girl died from fentanyl poisoning after she was found unresponsive in bed and a sheriff’s investigation is focusing on her parents’ social media accounts.

Ivy White died early Oct. 5 at Brandon Regional Hospital. The cause of death was not known until autopsy results were released four months later, on Feb. 21. The same day, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office applied to a judge for a search warrant to review Facebook accounts for the girl’s parents, Kaleb White, 32, and Danielle Zanyk, 26.

Facebook Messenger is the couple’s primary means of communication, the search warrant affidavit said. Detectives said they expect Facebook messages to contain evidence of how fentanyl made it into the family’s home at 704 Isleton Drive in the Bloomingdale neighborhood.

The parents each have been arrested on drug-related charges since the girl’s death.

A message to Zanyk’s Facebook account and to an email listed as hers was not answered Friday. White, who is in custody at the Hillsborough County Jail, is represented by the Hillsborough County Public Defender’s Office. The office does not comment publicly about ongoing cases.

Contacted Friday, the Sheriff’s Office provided no additional information.

The affidavit describes the final hours of Ivy White’s life.

Kaleb White left for an eight-hour shift at McDonald’s at 10 p.m. the night before the death, leaving his daughter in her mother’s care, he told detectives. Ivy was a healthy baby and not in medical distress, he said.

Zanyk told detectives she and the girl fell asleep in the same bed around midnight. Zanyk woke about 5 a.m. when White returned from work early, saying he “had an odd feeling something was wrong at home.”

The girl was unresponsive and first responders were called to the home. An ambulance arrived at 5:10 a.m. and reached the hospital 20 minutes later, the autopsy report said. The girl had a low temperature of 90.7 and was vomiting.

Lifesaving measures were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead at 5:57 a.m., the autopsy report said.

The parents told deputies they had not communicated with each other before White returned home from work. They denied using drugs, either illegally or prescribed, and said they had never used fentanyl, the affidavit said.

After the death, Zanyk’s father Marc Zanyk posted 15 photos of his granddaughter as well as the girl’s birth announcement to his public Facebook page. She was born on the morning of July 6, 2020, at Brandon Regional Hospital.

Marc Zanyk did not respond to requests for comment made in two calls to numbers listed for him and in two messages on Facebook.

In Loving Memory My 1st grandchild "Ivy Hope" Born 7/6/20 - Died 10/5/21 R.I.P. My Angel <3

Posted by Marc Zanyk on Monday, October 25, 2021

The opioid fentanyl is approved for treating severe pain but is also abused as a recreational drug, the Drug Enforcement Administration said.

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Fentanyl is often added to heroin to increase its potency or to disguise it as highly potent heroin. It can produce feelings of euphoria as well as confusion, dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Used improperly, fentanyl can cause breathing to stop. It was blamed in the deaths of at least 31,000 Americans in 2018.

Danielle Zanyk was arrested Dec. 7 on a charge of possession of heroin and cocaine. An arrest report was not available.

Kaleb White was arrested Dec. 7 on grand theft charges for trying to steal tools and sell them at a pawn shop, an arrest report said. He was released on probation. White was arrested again Feb. 22 after surveillance footage showed him taking more than $3,000 worth of equipment from a pickup truck parked at a Tampa home, an arrest report said. He said he was stealing to buy crack cocaine, the report said.

White’s probation was withdrawn and he faces added charges of drug possession, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance, dealing in stolen property and grand theft.