Couple arrested for child neglect after baby overdoses on fentanyl

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A local grandmother is fighting for custody of three children after one of them overdosed on fentanyl.

Alexis Burnette and Saige Freese are facing felony child neglect charges after their 9-month-old daughter ingested the drug.

The grandmother, Saige’s mother, is fighting to get custody of the baby and the two other kids living in the home.

The private investigator she previously hired to help her case is speaking out. Since she works undercover, she did not show her face.

“She wants to save those three babies,” private investigator Kathleen Conran said.

Conran was hired by Freese’s mother to investigate her son and his girlfriend at the end of November 2021.

“We got hired to get physical evidence to try to help these children,” Conran said.

At the moment, Burnette and Freese are currently sitting in jail on felony child neglect charges.

According to a police report, they drove their three kids along with two other adults to a local clinic on July 1. The report states a friend noticed their youngest, a 9-month-old baby, was not breathing when they stopped at a gas station. Burnette told police her lips were turning blue.

The report states they took the baby to the hospital where she was given multiple doses of Narcan and tested positive for fentanyl. Soon after, Burnette and Freese tested positive as well.

Freese later told police he had crushed and snorted a Xanax pill the night before and may have touched the baby’s bottle. He also acknowledged the pill could have been laced with fentanyl.

Conran said this whole situation could have been avoided if the proper authorities listened to her months ago when she was working for the kids’ grandmother.

The grandmother had to stop paying Conran in January, but Conran said she kept working the case because she was worried about the kids.

She said she’s been warning agencies of the kids’ dangerous situation since last year.

“They need to start seeing that kids are dying every day,” Conran said.

Conran said she went undercover and gathered evidence against the couple.

Court records show Burnette was already on probation for another count of child neglect back in 2019. More documents show she had since violated her probation back in April before July’s incident.

“I called DCF. Nobody ever even called me back,” Conran said.

Conran believes DCF had enough to take the children out of the home. Yet, they didn’t, and a baby almost lost her life.

Conran wants to know why DCF didn’t step in earlier.

“They need to start getting these kids the proper help they need by removing these kids from their situation,” Conran said.

We reached out to DCF about the case and the kids. We have not received a statement yet.

Conran said the other two kids are 7 and around two-and-a-half.

The grandmother is only related to two of the kids as the oldest was from another relationship. However, she still wants to take in all three.

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