A Guadeloupean family plans to sue Airbnb after their toddler died during a stay after ingesting the dangerous synthetic opioid Fentanyl.
The baby’s tragic death sparked an investigation by American law enforcement agents, but officials working on the death have become unsure if they will ever obtain justice for the child.
The family says they will not stop until they get answers and someone is held responsible and is filing a lawsuit against Airbnb, the property owner, the rental’s manager, and one renter who had hosted the party in the house they stayed in while visiting the country.
In August 2021, Lydie and Boris Lavenir brought their family to the United States for vacation, arranging to stay in a four-bedroom, two-bath lake house in Wellington, Fla.
The couple brought their five children, including a 19-month-old toddler, and according to the Washington Post, the trip to the Sunshine state turned deadly for Enora.
After playing with some pots and pans in the kitchen, the almost-two-year-old was discovered dead in her room after a 2-hour nap, reports the Daily Mail. The family called local authorities upon seeing the child’s face turned blue and foam falling from her lips.
The family was devastated by the premature death of the toddler but more shocked when the Palm Beach County medical examiner produced a toxicology report that would reveal the child’s death was caused by a lethal amount of fentanyl.
The family had never heard of the drug, a street narcotic that has been ravishing the United States for years.
The Lavenirs hired an independent medical examiner whose toxicology report confirmed the PBC autopsy, leaving the family, the police, and Airbnb scrambling to find how the baby got the drugs. However, investigators have hit a brick wall saying they were unable to locate the drugs anywhere on the property.
They also interviewed and tested the parents, and neither of them had the drug in their system. Drugs were also not found in their clothing.
The detectives worked with the hosts and Airbnb and interviewed previous renters and came up blank, even speaking to someone who admitted to having a party on the property and having cocaine on the kitchen counter.
Enora’s bottle was also tested. Investigators checked her medical records, inspected her body for abuse, and traced the family’s travel from the Miami Airport to the day of the death but found nothing, according to the New York Post.
In their discovery, nothing helped them break the mystery of how the baby ingested the drug.
“I am currently unable to determine how the child Enora Lavenir ingested the fentanyl. 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,” an investigator wrote in the most recent report of the case.
Law enforcement said they simply don’t know when, where, and what happened.
Her father said he knows for sure where it happened, saying, “What is certain is, Enora had contact with fentanyl in the Airbnb.”
Boris described the way his family feels by saying, “It’s like we fell into a trap.”
The family felt especially discouraged when Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Teri Barbera confirmed the case would be closed pending new leads and that no criminal charges will be leveraged against anyone.
Reports say the family filed a lawsuit against several parties connected to the property, claiming the person who admitted to the party most likely hosted a party reveler who left the fentanyl in the house, and it simply was never cleaned up by the owner or property manager.
Thomas Scolaro, the Miami-based attorney, has been hired to represent the family.
The lawyer says it is not a hard leap to connect the renter to the child’s death.
Scolaro said, “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 that Airbnb provided no cleanup, no warning, no measure of safety for the family.”
Lars Noah, a law professor at the University of Florida, was asked about the validity of the complaint and said it is going to be hard to prove.
“They 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,” Noah told The Washington Post.
Another twist to the story is that the owner of the property rents it on both Airbnb and Vrbo.
The person who rented the property and had the wild party did not go through Airbnb but Vrbo. He argues the child’s death can’t be linked to him because there is no way to say who was in the home after him and/or if it was ever cleaned.
He and the person who actually owned the property says either way, the family was careless with the care of their child.
Neither Airbnb nor Vrbo have offered a comment on the lawsuit, but Airbnb did give a statement to the family through a spokesperson: “Our hearts go out to the Lavenir family and their loved ones for their devastating loss.”