Police: Hialeah man arrested after 1-year-old son found unresponsive, positive for Xanax

Ishmael Duffus (MDCR/WPLG)

HIALEAH, Fla. – Police arrested a Hialeah man after they said first responders found his 1-year-old son, who later tested positive for Xanax, unresponsive early Sunday morning.

According to an arrest report from the Hialeah Police Department, authorities responded to the West Ninth Street apartment of 28-year-old Ishmael Duffus after receiving a report of an unconscious child.

Duffus’ son was taken to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, where he tested positive for the benzodiazepine, police said.

According to the report, Duffus’ girlfriend left their son at home with him while she went to work Sunday afternoon. Duffus had told her he was going to take their son to a podcast studio in downtown Miami, police said.

When she came back at around 2:20 a.m., Duffus was asleep on the sofa and their son, who was also in the living room, “appeared sick and like he was crying for hours,” the report states.

The woman told police that the child showed symptoms of being under the influence of Xanax, police said.

She “said she recognized the symptoms because (Duffus) is known to consume Xanax and he displays the same exact symptoms,” the report states.

The woman told police that she tried to stand her son on his feet but he was “disoriented and fell on the floor,” police said.

Police said that the woman told officers that Duffus told her “I can’t find my sticks,” referring to Xanax pills, and that he had had three pills and was missing one.

After she called 911 to get her son medical help, Duffus called his girlfriend a “snitch,” the report states. Police said later they found Duffus in a “deep sleep” on the front step of the apartment and slurred his words.

A Hialeah police officer described the contents of the apartment as follows: “In the living room of the apartment was a table, approximately one foot from the ground, with two bottles of cough syrup medicine on top. Directly next to the medicine was a tray with what appeared to be grounded marijuana. In the living room rug, I observed several small cigarettes filled with what appeared to be marijuana. All items were out in the open and within reach of a small child. On the kitchen counter, there was an empty medication bottle with no label.”

Duffus later refused to speak with officers and said he would “plead the fifth,” the report states.

He was taken to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on a charge of child neglect causing no great bodily harm.

Duffus was no longer listed in jail records as of Monday night.

About the Author:

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.