A French family is planning to sue Airbnb, as well as the owner, property manager and previous renter of a Florida holiday home where their 19- month old daughter died from a fentanyl overdose.
Lydie and Boris Lavenir, from Guadeloupe, told NBC News they put their daughter Enora down for a nap after a morning of television and playtime with her four siblings, for her never to wake up again.
Ms Lavenir found her daughter with a blue face and white foam seeping from her lips.
An autopsy by the Palm Beach County medical examiner and an independent toxicology report later revealed that the baby’s system contained a lethal amount of fentanyl.
“Enora’s dead,” her mother screamed through the four-bedroom, two-bathroom lake house in Wellington, Florida, the Washington Post reported.
Both Lydie and Boris tested negative for the drug and investigators couldn’t find a trace of fentanyl in the home, so many were mystified about where the synthetic opioid came from.
Investigators tried to question previous renters, including one who admitted to throwing a cocaine-fulled party, but nothing tied those drugs to what killed Enora.
The family were the first AirBnB guests to stay at the property and previously, the property was booked by guests on Vrbo.
The homeowner and previous renter accused the parents of carelessness in their responses.
The renter, who booked the property through Vrbo, added he cannot be liable for what happened in the house after he left, including if it was cleaned or if anyone else was in the house. Vrbo did not respond to a request for comment from the Washington Post.
An Airbnb spokesperson told the Mirror: “Our hearts go out to the Lavenir family and their loved ones for their devastating loss.”
“I am currently unable to determine how the child Enora Lavenir ingested the fentanyl”, the final report into the infant’s death read.
It continued: “Therefore I am unable to develop probable cause for abuse or neglect leading to the death of Enora. Currently, the manner of death is listed as accidental.
A Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office representative told the Washington Post the case is currently closed as deputies wait for leads. But now the family is suing Airbnb, the property owner, the rental’s manager and the renter who had hosted the party, claiming the fentanyl was left behind by partygoers and not cleaned up.
“They [the parents] can prove that the child died from fentanyl exposure, but where that fentanyl comes from, linking it to this particular group, that just sounds monstrously difficult under these circumstances”, Lars Noah, a law professor at the University of Florida told the Washington Post.
However, the family’s lawyer, Thomas Scolaro thinks that Airbnb was negligent and did not properly clean the space between tenants. It was the first time the property had been leased through Airbnb.
Scolaro told the paper: “The only thing we have here is our common sense. It was definitely in that unit, that Airbnb. Which particular person left the drugs is frankly not anything I’m trying to prove. What I want to show is Airbnb provided no cleanup, no warning, no measure of safety for the family.”
From 2018 to 2021, 260 children four years old and under died from fentanyl, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.