Apopka Man Arrested for Murder in Eustis Teen’s Overdose Death

EUSTIS, Florida—A 22-year-old Apopka man has been arrested in the death of a teenager who overdosed on fentanyl in her Eustis bedroom last month.

Zach Brandon Zorn, 22, was arrested by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Thursday on a charge of murder by distribution of a controlled substance, a Eustis Police detective working the case said when he spoke exclusively with Inside Lake Friday.  

On the afternoon of Aug. 13, EPD patrol officers responded to a home on Cherry Blossom Court in reference to a death. They spoke with the homeowners, who told officers they found their 19-year-old daughter unresponsive in her bedroom. They attempted CPR while waiting on officers, but she was cold to the touch. Lake County Fire Rescue responded and pronounced the teen dead shortly after she was found.

Her father told police the family watched a movie together the night before and he thought his daughter had stayed home throughout the night, but he did find her keys in her hand while he was attempting to resuscitate his daughter.

The detective working the case responded to the scene and the teenager’s parents and brother told him she had a history of drug use and usually snorted fentanyl and her father said he found a small baggie with a brown substance in her vehicle just a few days before. Police searched her room and bathroom and found marijuana and paraphernalia, in addition to a baggie with a tiny amount of a white substance in her wallet. Another baggie with white residue was found in her vehicle. The substance, believed to fentanyl, was submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for testing.

Last week, the medical examiner released its report to EPD; the teen’s death was found to be an accidental overdose of fentanyl.

The EPD detective began investigating the teenager’s known associates and secured a warrant for her phone, according to a report. The phone was a wealth of information, and showed the teen only communicated with Zorn the night before her death.  Their Snapchat messages are listed below.  

10:58 p.m.  (Zorn) Hay now I’m at mason street

                                       Hay

                                       Did u call

11:12 p.m.  (Teen) No

11:12 p.m. (Zorn) Are u heading this way

11:13 p.m. (Teen) Yes I will be there in 17 minutes

11:17 p.m. (Zorn) Heroine is boy and fetty is Fentanyl

                                    What u want

11:17 p.m. (Teen) Fetty ofc

11:32 p.m. (Zorn) “thumbs up emoji”

11:50 p.m. (Teen) I’m 5 minutes away

11:50 p.m. (Zorn) Oh ok

                                    Drive safely love

11:50 p.m. (Teen) I am

                                    I’m here

2:22 a.m. Aug. 13 (Teen) Is he almost done?

That was the only message sent on the day of the teen’s death, the detective noted in the report.

File photo

During his investigation, the EPD detective found that the teen met Zorn at Apopka High School and they began communicating in January 2018 and the teen discussed buying marijuana and THC from Zorn that year. They quit communicating for an extended amount of time and in March of this year, she messaged Zorn and said she was looking for a new “plug,” and asks if Zorn can get “some hydros or oxy?” The following day the teen messaged Zorn and states, “Loved the fent btw, thank you,” and the next day, March 26, she asks, “Is it possible to get more fent tonight?”  “Plug” is slang for a drug dealer.

Between April 4 and May 31, the teen discussed buying fentanyl from Zorn, and other drug-related transactions, a dozen times. Zorn gave the teen three different addresses in Apopka during this time to meet for drugs, including the home on Mason Street—the same home GPS data showed she met Zorn at the night before her death.

Zorn told a detective Thursday he would get drugs for the teen, and he would “tax” her for facilitating the transaction and keep a portion of the money she gave him. Zorn told the detective he facilitated the delivery of the lethal drugs to the teen the night before she died, but later changed his story when he found out the person he accused of giving her the drugs was incarcerated at the time of her death.

Zorn, who is on pre-trial intervention (PTI) for a different case, is being held in the Orange County Jail on $50,000 bond but will held on a no bond status after he is officially violated, for this new charge the detective said.

EPD Chief Craig Capri is proud of the work his detectives put in on this case and said they will continue to put dealers behind bars. “We will do everything in our power to stop the scourge of drug dealers in our city who prey on the victims who suffer from this illness.”

Just this week EPD worked three overdoses within 30 minutes of each other; the subjects were given Narcan and survived. 

PHOTO: Drug Policy Alliance
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