MARION COUNTY, FL – On Tuesday, November 2, 2021, Joseph Arthur Tierney, 36, was charged with, and Jalynn Nichole Davis, 36,had an arrest warrant issued for, Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child in connection with the death of their 2-year-old daughter.
According to authorities, on June 13, 2021, Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) deputies responded to 22647 SE Hwy 42 in Umatilla in reference to a 2-year-old female who was unresponsive. Upon arrival, deputies and paramedics administered CPR to the victim, Miya Tierney. Miya was then transported to the the Villages Hospital where she was pronounced deceased.
MCSO Major Crimes Detectives began an investigation into Miya’s death. During interviews with her parents, Davis and Tierney stated that Miya had been asleep in a bed and that they left her alone in the bedroom for 30 minutes while they had ‘adult time’ and upon their return they found her unresponsive with vomit coming from her mouth at which time they called 911. According to charging affidavits, at the time, both parents gave a similar account of the incident but were unable to be separately interviewed due to what deputies said was a chaotic scene. Deputies noted that ‘Both parents appeared appropriately distraught, considering the circumstances.’
In August 2021, Detectives received Miya’s autopsy results. The Medical Examiner determined Miya’s cause of death to be “Fentanyl Toxicity” after her stomach contents tested positive for fentanyl. Detectives continued investigation revealed that Davis sold fentanyl and that Tierney was an active user of fentanyl. Based upon an extensive investigation including witness statements and interviews with the defendants, probable cause was developed that Davis and Tierney were criminally responsible for Miya’s death based upon their having brought her to a known drug location and by failing to protect her from the fentanyl present at the location.
At the time of Tierney’s arrest, he was already in the Marion County Jail for charges of Tampering with a Witness in a Capital Felony Proceeding and Aggravated Assault. He is being held on No Bond. Davis is presently being held on no bond in the Lake County Jail for separate offenses committed in Lake County, including Murder for a death caused by her unlawful distribution of fentanyl, Possession of Fentanyl, Possession of Methamphetamine, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. According to detectives, she will be served with the newly issued warrant upon her return to Marion County.
Sheriff Billy Woods said, “For years, law enforcement has been battling the opioid epidemic here in Marion County, throughout the United States, and at our country’s borders. The senseless death of this innocent child is the ultimate tragedy, and it should serve as a reminder of why we must continue our fight to keep opiates out of our communities. Everybody should know that if you or somebody you know uses drugs and wants to get clean, our community has resources available to help you. But let me be perfectly clear, if you are using drugs or selling drugs, and if somebody overdoses or dies as a result, me and my deputies will do everything we can to hold you accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”