A mother-of-four collapsed and died while preparing a Father’s Day breakfast for her partner after taking ‘legal high’ kratom in 2021.
Krystal Talavera, 39, was found face down in the kitchen of the family’s $640k home in Palm Beach, Florida, by Biagio Vultaggio, the father of her youngest child.
The nurse was next to her one-year-old son and an open bag of ‘Space Dust,’ which is a synthetic drug created from kratom. It is commonly sold as a supplement in US stores, according to a lawsuit filed by Talavera’s family.
Her eldest son, Devin Filippelli, sued kratom distributor Grow LLC over her death with a judge ruling they have to pay more than $11milion in damages.
Talavera was rushed to the hospital where she was died, with her official cause of death listed as ‘acute mitragynine intoxication’ by the Palm Beach County coroner.
Krystal Talavera, 39, was found face down in the kitchen of the family’s $640k home in Palm Beach, Florida, by Biagio Vultaggio, the father of her youngest child
Kratom is commonly sold as a supplement in US stores, according to a lawsuit filed by Talavera’s family
The lawsuit stated that mitragynine produced ‘opioid-like effects’ when taken in high concentrations and can cause ‘respiratory failure’.
Grow LLC does business as The Kratom Distro, was sued by Filippelli, 21, in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Florida in November.
The complaint stated Talavera regularly purchased the companies’ Kratom’s products, with her son now warning of the ‘dangers of kratom’.
She had worked as a registered nurse at Trustbridge Hospice Care in West Palm Beach, and had just been given a promotion.
U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks ruled on July 27 the company should pay her family $11,642,895 in damages.
The breakdown was $4,642,895.70 for the estate of Talavera, $1 million for Filippelli, and $2 million for her other three children.
Judge Middlebrooks noted in his ruling: ‘There is of course no amount of money that will make up for the pain and suffering that Ms. Talavera’s children are enduring because of their mother’s death.
‘The law nonetheless recognizes that the defendant must pay something, however inadequate.’
Filipelli told the court his mother died the day after his high school graduation, as he was getting ready to attend the University of Florida.
Talavera was rushed to hospital where she was died, with her official cause of death listed as ‘acute mitragynine intoxication’ by the Palm Beach County coroner
Talavera’s ex-husband, Benny Flores, added their two young sons are suffering emotionally, with their 6-year-old asking ‘when his mother is coming back’
He described her as the ‘nucleus of the family’ and she was the ‘person that brought everyone together’.
Speaking to McClatchy News he said: ‘I am grateful for the judge’s decision, but no amount of money will bring my mom back or numb my pain.’
Talavera’s ex-husband, Benny Flores, added their two young sons are suffering emotionally, with their 6-year-old asking ‘when his mother is coming back’.
She was introduced to the synthetic drug by friends years before her death, purchasing them from The Kratom Distro online and believed it was ‘a safe and natural dietary supplement’ as it was marketed, the complaint says.
The complaint argued that Grow LLC, owned by Sean Harder, sold their kratom products ‘without any warning regarding instructions for use,’
It added the legal high is ‘more dangerous than the ordinary consumer would reasonably expect’ and how the distributor was negligent in selling its products.
The lawsuit says that mitragynine produced ‘opioid-like effects’ when taken in high concentrations and can cause ‘respiratory failure’
But the FDA says kratom isn’t ‘appropriate for use as a dietary conventional supplement’ nor is it sold as a prescription or over-the-counter drug.
A GoFundMe for the family raised $7,700 in 2021 for Talavera’s funeral, and paid tribute to her as an ‘amazing’ woman with a ‘big heart’.
It said: ‘We will always remember her laugh, her smile, and her big heart. She leaves behind an amazing legacy of friendships and family that will forever honor her.
‘Krystal… we love you more than life itself. We will always cherish the time we had with you and we will forever keep you in our prayers.’
Kratom is sold in U.S. stores and online, according to the Food and Drug Administration, with around 1.7 million Americans 12 and older were reported to be kratom users in 2021.
In smaller doses, kratom can produce stimulant effects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Attorney Tamara Williams said in a statement: ‘This $11-million-dollar judgment should be a wakeup call to the kratom industry about this dangerous and unregulated substance.
‘There are families across the country who know firsthand that kratom is addictive and can be deadly.’