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Authorities plead for community to do better after child’s death

Evansville WFIE logo Evansville WFIE 10/28/2021 Jessica Costello, 14 News Staff
Death of child under investigation in 600 block of E. Michigan in Evansville © Provided by Evansville WFIE Death of child under investigation in 600 block of E. Michigan in Evansville

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - New information has been released in the investigation into the death of a three-year-old in Evansville, including, police say, the discovery of more than 5,000 fentanyl pills.

“This tragedy needs to serve as a wake-up call to this entire community. When you have children overdosing on fentanyl and when you have all of these overdose deaths, we’re all put on notice. We all have a responsibility here. This is unacceptable and we need help. So what can society do? What can you do to help us,” Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann asked.

On Thursday, the coroner identified her as Kamari Opperman.

Kamari Opperman © Provided by Evansville WFIE Kamari Opperman

Police say six people have been arrested in connection to the case.

Evansville Police and the Vanderburgh County Prosecutor’s Office gave a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Police were called to a home on East Michigan Street Wednesday morning.

According to the 911 calls obtained by 14 News, dispatchers were told the three-year-old child got a hold of a fentanyl pill Tuesday and was not taken to the hospital.

The affidavit shows there were at least three other children involved, and two of them had to be given Narcan.

During the news conference, officials said one of the children also had a fractured skull.

Click here to see the arrest affidavit.

It shows that 20-year-old Makaylee Opperman, the three-year-old’s mother, is accused of neglect of a dependent causing death, along with another drug and neglect charges.

Amber and Brandon Opperman are also booked into jail on neglect of a dependent causing death charges.

“This isn’t a game. Fentanyl will kill anyone. Small doses will kill anyone. I’m not naïve enough to think we’re not going to stand up here again in a couple of weeks and have another one of these press conferences about some horrible tragedy cause I’m sure that we will. But we have to be on notice. As a community, we have to do better and we have to protect our children,” Hermann said.

Arrests made in Evansville child death investigation. © Provided by Evansville WFIE Arrests made in Evansville child death investigation.

The police affidavit also shows Jazmynn Brown and Allison Smithler lived with Makaylee. Those two are booked under neglect and drug charges.

Arcinial Watt is facing drug charges in the case. The affidavit shows more than 5,000 fentanyl pills were found at his home.

More arrests made in child death investigation. © Provided by Evansville WFIE More arrests made in child death investigation.

14 News was on scene Wednesday and spoke with a neighbor about the situation.

”I didn’t hear anything this morning. I just seen the flashing lights, and there was a bunch of police officers out here, and when I came out here the fire truck was taking off,” neighbor Mavis Ellington said. “I was shocked.”

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