Teen's death prompts Missouri father to shed light on dangers of counterfeit pills




  • In US
  • 2021-10-20 22:08:25Z
  • By Kansas City Star
 

The father of a 17-year-old girl who died over the weekend after taking a counterfeit prescription pain reliever laced with fentanyl made a heartbreaking public statement in hopes that no one else has to deal with the pain he is feeling.

Faith Cerinity Richardson of Cameron, Missouri, died Sunday after taking what she thought was a Percocet while staying with a friend in Chillicothe.

"I write this post as I sit on my daughter Faith's bed missing her and knowing I'll never be able to hug her or create new memories with her again," her father, Leland Hawk Jr., wrote in a post on the Cameron Community Forum, a public group on Facebook.

"My daughter was not addicted to drugs," he wrote. "Faith was a good student at the high school. Faith has a lot of friends. Faith was a member of the band. Faith was also getting ready to start wrestling. Faith had plans to go to college and study sociology/psychology, because she wanted to help people."

Acknowledging that kids experiment with drugs and alcohol, Hawk said he can only guess that his daughter thought it would be okay to take prescription medicine with a friend since it was not a street drug.

"This decision was fatal because instead of experimenting with prescription pain killers, she was given a counterfeit pill made with fentanyl," he said.

Hawk, who said he would rather not have the world know his family business, wrote that he went public so that someone else does not have to feel the pain he's going through because they learned from his daughter's death.

"Maybe just maybe something positive can come from it," he wrote. "Two out of every five of these counterfeit of pills have a lethal dose of fentanyl, she got one of those. Hug your kids and make sure they know one simple mistake can end their life."

Police arrested Tehya Kelley, 23, of and Jeremiah Horton, 33, and they were charged in Richardson's death.

Kelley faces one count of first-degree involuntary manslaughter and four counts of delivery of a controlled substance. Horton faces three counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

According to court documents, police recovered messages from cell phones that allegedly show Richardson and Kelley arranging to buy drugs and meeting up to make the exchange early Sunday morning.

Richardson was found unresponsive about 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

The Chillicothe Police Department urged people to talk with friends, family and children about the danger of counterfeit pills, saying that its officers have recently responded to other overdoses involving counterfeit pills.

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