Two California high school students were arrested after two teenagers overdosed and one of them died on a nearby campus.
Melanie Ramos, 15, was identified as the student found dead in a bathroom at Bernstein High School in Hollywood on Tuesday.
A 15-year-old boy, who was not named because he was a minor, was arrested for allegedly selling fentanyl pills to Melanie and another 15-year-old girl, also overdosed but who received medical treatment and should to survive.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) told ABC News that the 15-year-old suspect was in possession of multiple pills when he was arrested. He should be charged with manslaughter.
A 16-year-old boy was also arrested for allegedly selling drugs to an individual who overdosed during the day in nearby Lexington Park. Authorities believe the suspects operated together.
The suspects are students from a charter school near the Bernstein High School campus.
The girls were found Tuesday after the surviving student’s stepfather went looking for her when she couldn’t get home from school. Although the stepdaughter had symptoms of overdose, she was able to tell him that her friend was inside a bathroom before she was transported to the hospital.
The health workers intervened on the spot, but the other girl was pronounced dead. LAPD told ABC that victims bought what they believed were Percocet pills from the 15-year-old suspect in Lexington Park, where one person had overdosed and administered Narcan a few hours earlier.
Melanie’s aunt Gladys Manriques has since created a GoFundMe to raise money for funeral expenses.
“Isn’t there a routine where the school checks that there are no students left behind?” Ms. Manriques told ABC. “We feel we need justice. Whoever is out there poisoning our kids, it’s not fair for them to be free ”.
The Los Angeles Unified School District issued a statement saying the school was working with the LAPD to investigate the circumstances of Melanie’s death. The district also said there will be a greater presence of law enforcement on campus in the coming days.
“We are working with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the lead agency on this ongoing investigation, and at this point and due to confidentiality concerns, we have no further information to share.”
“As we work together with the LAPD to uncover the details of this tragic situation, our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of both students,” the statement read.
Fentanyl is a drug 100 times more potent than morphine, and as little as two milligrams of the substance can be lethal depending on a person’s body size, tolerance, and past use, according to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The agency’s analysis determined that 42 percent of the pills tested for fentanyl contained at least 2 milligrams.