NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville Police are now investigating the death of 23-month-old Ariel Rose as a homicide.
Rose was found dead at a Nashville halfway house where her father and grandmother were living back on Nov. 11.
Officers said she was in the care of an extended relative at the time of her death and not her parents.
On Tuesday, the Davidson County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Rose’s cause of death was fentanyl toxicity and the manner of death was ruled accidental.
Metro’s Youth Services Division, however, believes the evidence shows Rose was placed in harm’s way.
Rose first made headlines when a video surfaced of what appeared to be Rose with her father living at the homeless encampment in Brookmeade Park last April.
Not long after that, her aunt was granted custody of the little girl.
When her aunt could no longer take care of Rose, she was sent to live with her fraternal grandmother and father who were both at the halfway home.
Rose’s grandfather Mickey Rose spoke with NewsChannel5 Investigates last November and said Rose stayed the night with a neighbor before she was found dead.
Mickey Rose said the Tennessee Department of Children Services should have acted sooner to take custody of his grandchild away from her parents who he says struggled with substance abuse. Mickey says he called DCS multiple times after he found the Brookmeade video online.
“DCS failed her because she should have been taken out of that encampment on day one. They should have placed that child in the state’s custody. Maybe the state’s custody is not the best. It’s not what a child wants, but she would be alive,” Mickey said.
Mickey said Ariel spent two months living in the encampment with her parents.
We asked Metro Police if they have a suspect at this time or someone who they believe is responsible for Ariel’s death and they said it’s still too early to tell.
This is a developing story.