Teens arrested after 15-year-old high school student overdosed on fentanyl
Two California high school students have been arrested after two teenagers overdosed and one died on a nearby campus.
Melanie Ramos, 15, has been identified as the student found dead in a bathroom stall at Bernstein High School in Hollywood on Tuesday.
A 15-year-old boy, who has not been named because he is underage, has been arrested for allegedly selling fentanyl-containing pills to Melanie and another 15-year-old girl, who also overdosed but received medical attention and is expected to survive.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said ABC News that the 15-year-old suspect was in possession of more pills when he was taken into custody. He is expected to be charged with manslaughter.
A 16-year-old boy was also arrested for allegedly selling drugs to someone who overdosed earlier in the day at nearby Lexington Park. Authorities believe the suspects operated together.
The suspects are students at a charter school near the campus of Bernstein High School.
The girls were found on Tuesday after the surviving student’s stepfather picked her up when she failed to return from school. Although her daughter-in-law showed symptoms of an overdose, she was able to tell her that her friend was inside a toilet cubicle before being taken to hospital.
Paramedics were called to the scene, but the other girl was pronounced dead. LAPD told ABC the victims purchased what they believed to be Percocet pills from the 15-year-old suspect in Lexington Park, where a person had overdosed and been given Narcan hours earlier.
Mélanie’s aunt, Gladys Manriques, has since created a GoFundMe to raise funds for funeral expenses.
“Isn’t there a routine where the school checks that there are no students left?” Ms. Manriques told ABC. “We think we need justice. Whoever poisons our children, it’s not right that they should be free.
The Los Angeles Unified School District released a statement saying the school was working with the LAPD to investigate the circumstances surrounding Melanie’s death. The district also said there will be more law enforcement presence on campus in the coming days.
“We are working with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the lead agency in this ongoing investigation, and at this time and due to privacy concerns, we have no further information to share.”
“As we work with the LAPD to uncover the details of this tragic situation, our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the two students,” the statement said.
Fentanyl is a drug 100 times more potent than morphine and just two milligrams of the substance can be fatal depending on a person’s size, tolerance and past use, according to the United States. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The agency’s analysis determined that 42% of the pills tested for fentanyl contained at least 2 milligrams.