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Person of interest identified in fentanyl overdose death of Hartford 7th grader

By Evan Sobol, Christian Colon, Marcy Jones, Rob Polansky

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    HARTFORD, Connecticut (WFSB) — A person of interest was announced in the case of a 13-year-old student who died from a fentanyl overdose at a school in Hartford earlier this month.

The seventh grader overdosed at the Sports and Medical Sciences Academy on Jan. 13, according to police.

The juvenile, who has not been identified, died on Jan. 15, police said.

Officials said 40 bags of fentanyl were found at the school.

Police said the person of interest has a history at the juvenile’s residence.

“This individual does have narcotics history and will remain a person of interest, although we cannot label him a suspect at this point,” Hartford police said.

They said upon investigation, they found about 100 more bags of fentanyl in the juvenile’s bedroom.

“This fentanyl was packaged in the same manner as the bags located at the school, had the same identifying stamp, and tested at an even higher purity level (60 percent purity),” Hartford police said.

Police said they are confident the fentanyl that caused the juvenile to overdose was the same fentanyl found in the juvenile’s bedroom.

The bags of fentanyl found at the school were tested by the Drug Enforcement Administration and had a purity of 58-percent.

The juvenile’s mother continues to cooperate with police in the investigation.

“At this time, we have no evidence to support her having any prior knowledge of her son’s possession of the fentanyl,” police said.

In a town hall meeting held Tuesday evening to help guide parents after the overdose death, school leaders admitted they didn’t know how much of a problem fentanyl was.

The district is brought in experts such as police and child psychologists.

“Is it easy at school to say ‘no’ if someone encourages or asks you to try something,” said Dr. Melissa Santos, Division Chief of Pediatric Psychology at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “Creating those opportunities where they can’t just answer it in a quick ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is really how you are going to learn what’s going on with them.”

Parents also learned how cheap fentanyl was and how someone can either snort or inject it.

The schools in Hartford will be getting Narcan, the medicine which reverses an overdose, school officials said.

“We have already placed an order so that we can have naloxone available across all of our schools. We began training last week, training for school nurses, administrators, our assistant principals,” said Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, superintendent of Hartford Public Schools.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Hartford police.

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