Police: Dallastown toddler nearly died, OD'd on father's fentanyl

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
Justin Allen Ennis

A Dallastown man whose toddler nearly died of a fentanyl overdose more than a year ago is now locked up, accused of child endangerment for allegedly leaving the deadly opioid within reach of his two young children.

The concentration of fentanyl in the 14-month-old girl's system was higher than a standard lethal dose, according to charging documents filed by police.

"The death of (the toddler) would have been certain if (she) had not received the medical attention and care that she had received," documents state.

Justin Allen Ennis, 32, of the 600 block of Trolley Road, remains in York County Prison on $50,000 bail, charged with two counts of child endangerment, both graded as felonies.

York Area Regional Police said the toddler overdosed the day after Christmas 2017 as she was playing on the floor with Christmas toys.

Officer Michael Zinn Jr. filed charges against Ennis on Jan. 25, 2018, according to charging documents, which indicate Ennis remained on the lam until being arraigned on those charges Friday, March 8.

According to charging documents, an ambulance crew and police were dispatched to Ennis' home just before 7 p.m. Dec. 26, 2017, after Ennis called 911.

Frantic 911 call: During the 911 call, Ennis described his daughter "as dying and being 'gone,'" Zinn wrote in charging documents.

Justin Allen Ennis

The toddler and her 6-year-old brother were playing with toys in the living room of their home when she went to her mother and collapsed, police said.

The girl lost consciousness and had difficulty breathing, according to documents.

Ennis told police he had fentanyl capsules inside a cigarette pack that was in his jacket pocket, and he said he left his jacket on the floor, documents allege.

He believed his daughter "must have gotten the capsules from the cigarette pack and ingested them, because he could not find the capsules," Zinn wrote. "Justin Ennis stated he almost killed (his daughter)."

The child's mother also said she believed her daughter was going to die, charging documents state.

The little girl was rushed to York Hospital then transferred to Hershey Medical Center for additional medical care, police said.

Police said Ennis failed to take proper precautions to keep the deadly opioid out of reach of his children.

It is unclear if he has retained an attorney.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 21, according to court records.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.