Charges weighed in teen's drug death - East Valley Tribune: News

Charges weighed in teen's drug death

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Posted: Monday, January 21, 2008 7:44 pm | Updated: 11:19 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The family of Jacob Fetchik celebrated what would have been his 17th birthday in Indian School Park in Scottsdale on Jan. 15, where Jacob loved to play basketball and make friends laugh.

His parents, Michael Fetchik and Sharon Mann, and two brothers, marked the occasion with birthday cake, balloons and sadness that Jacob was not there to share the day.

"We were dreading that day the most," said Jacob's father, Michael Fetchik. "Now, we can start moving forward. He was a beautiful boy. He loved making friends."

Jacob Fetchik, who had planned to return to Saguaro High School to start his junior year after the holidays and get a part-time job, had just completed a four-month drug rehabilitation program in Phoenix - eight days before his death.

In a sleepover that took a turn for the worse, Scottsdale police are investigating whether Jacob's death inside a south Scottsdale apartment about 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 was a negligent homicide.

Detectives are awaiting toxicology results to be released by the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office.

Authorities found Fetchik dead in a friend's apartment in the 6400 block of North 82nd Street after he was reported to have snorted a crushed-up prescription muscle relaxer and methadone pills with two other teenagers, according to a Maricopa County search warrant.

One of Fetchik's friends told police he noticed Jacob was foaming from the mouth and unresponsive and called 911, the search warrant stated.

A 19-year-old man, who had invited Jacob and a 17-year-old boy to the apartment to spend the night, told police he took about 30 of his mother's muscle relaxers and an unknown amount of methadone pills from her purse and medicine cabinet and gave some of them to Jacob.

The mother told police she is a recovering heroin addict and takes methadone as treatment, according to the warrant.

Negligent homicide is a felony, and is committed with criminal negligence if someone causes the death of a person, according to provisions in state law.

At least two of the people at the apartment that evening left before police arrived, and a resident of the apartment might not have been aware of the boy's death before he left, records show.

"I think that woman should rot in hell for making those drugs available to her son or anyone," said Sharon Mann. "She should have known better than to make drugs available. She knew Jacob had just gotten out of rehab."

"We think someone should be held accountable for Jacob's death," said Michael Fetchik, who said he is a recovering meth addict and has been clean for two years. "I'm surprised Jacob would do this after seeing what I went through. He was not a perfect child; he was someone who made a mistake."

Additional possible charges being reviewed against others in the apartment are possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana, which were taken out of the residence, according to the search warrant.

Jacob's cousin, Stacey Chipman, dedicated a MySpace.com memorial page to Jacob. Jacob has 105 friends listed on it, and there have been 1,452 visits from people expressing their condolences and writing messages in Jacob's memory.

"This is emotional for us," Chipman said. "When Jacob was born, he was premature and given less than a 50 percent chance to live at birth. To turn around and lose him like this is disgusting to me."

Jacob's funeral on Dec. 29 was attended by 211 teenagers, but many parents would not let their children attend because of the apparent drug overdose, Michael Fetchik said.

"This isn't something that always happens to somebody else," Michael Fetchik said. "When you have a teenager, you always have to talk to them, ask and look ... "

Jacob's mother broke down and cried before going inside the house.

"Teenagers have to know we're not the enemy," Mann said. "We love them. If they're having trouble, they need to talk to us."

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