A 13-year-old boy who was found unresponsive in his living room died from an accidental fentanyl overdose in Texas, authorities have said.
A report published by the medical examiner’s office ruled that teenager Jarron Winston’s death was accidental after he was found unresponsive in the living room of an apartment in northwest Harris County, on the outskirts of Houston, at about 2 am on Monday 25 September 2023.
According to Harris County sheriff Ed Gonzalez, the boy had taken aspirin at about 8am on Sunday before he went to sleep because he felt warm and had a stomach ache.
The sheriff added that about 3pm that day, his family called his name, but there was no response. Other children in the apartment also tried to wake him, but he didn’t move, according to reports.
Mr Gonzalez said the teenager’s family called 911 on Monday morning when they saw drops of blood in different places.
Officials believe the 13-year-old had been dead for several hours when first responders found him, Mr Gonzalez told ABC13.
He said six adults and seven children, including the teen’s mother, were inside the three-bedroom apartment at the time.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said it is continuing to investigate the case, including where the drugs came from and how they got into Winston’s system, as it remains unclear why no one called for help sooner.
Officials reportedly said they were told that the teen was a heavy sleeper and that he stayed in the fetal position from the time he went to bed on the morning of Sunday September 24 to the time that 911 were called on Monday September 25.
Mr Gonzalez added that the teenager’s relatives told authorities that there had been a death in the family the day before, so other members went to handle the remains. It is unclear if Winston went with them.
No one has been arrested.
The sheriff’s office said that the case is “open and active” and if they are able to determine where the fentanyl came from, the source could be charged with murder under a recently-enacted state law applicable to someone who supplies fentanyl that results in death.
Following the teenager’s death, his family paid tribute to him.
“Growing up Jarron enjoyed dancing, singing, playing basketball, and baseball. No matter how hard your day was, he would not stop until he made you laugh and smile. Jarron was and will always be the family jewel,” an online obituary read.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that more than 78,000 people died from overdoses involving synthetic opioids in the 12 months ending June 2023, accounting for 92% of all opioid overdose deaths during that period.