Janesville37.1°

Teen dies, another hospitalized: possible overdose investigated

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Ted Sullivan
February 10, 2010
— A 13-year-old Edgerton Middle School student died and his friend was hospitalized after a drug overdose was reported Tuesday at a home in Milton Township, officials said.

A boy who lives in the Mallwood subdivision was reported to have no pulse at 7 a.m., Rock County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Troy Knudson said.


An hour later, a second 13-year-old boy at the same address was reportedly suffering from a drug overdose, Milton Fire Chief Loren Lippincott said.


The first boy died at Edgerton Hospital and Health Services, and the second boy was treated and released, Sheriff’s Capt. Todd Christiansen said.


Resuscitation efforts failed to revive the first boy, Knudson said.


The two boys were friends and having a sleepover, Christiansen said. A parent in the home reported the emergency.


Detectives are investigating the possibility the death was caused by a prescription drug overdose, but other causes remain under investigation, Christiansen said.


The cause of death will not be known until autopsy and toxicology reports are finished, Christiansen said.


“There is the possibly they were taking some type of drugs previous to this,” Christiansen said. “We don’t know when, though. We’re trying to track these things down.”


He declined to say what kinds of prescription drugs might have been involved.


An autopsy was being done Tuesday in Madison, Rock County Coroner Jenifer Keach said.


The student who died was a seventh-grader at Edgerton Middle School, which has 400 students.


Jerry Roth, Edgerton Middle School principal, said news of the teen’s death was tragic.


“The students have just gotten the information. They’ve been hit like a ton of bricks,” Roth said. “They’re very down about the death of a friend and classmate.”


The school shared information about the boy’s death with teachers, students, school board members and administrators, Roth said.


Counseling was provided at school for anyone who wanted it, he said. Students also were allowed to go home to grieve.


School staff met at the end of the day to talk about how grieving went, Roth said. They also decided whether counselors should follow up with certain students.


The school sent home a letter with students informing parents of the death, he said. The letter included the boy’s name and tips on helping children grieve.


The Gazette is not reporting the names of the boys because the newspaper typically does not cover the deaths of people in their homes unless they are public figures or investigators believe crimes were involved.


“Our school and community have been saddened by the unexpected death of one of our seventh-grade students,” school counselor Susan Running wrote in the letter. “We offered support for any students needing to talk about his death during the remainder of the school day.”


The letter also indicates funeral arrangements will be shared with students when they become available.


Teachers also took the news hard, Roth said.


No unexpected deaths have occurred at Edgerton Middle School in at least five years, he said.


The mood at the school immediately changed after people were informed of the death. Roth said.


“I would just say it’s very subdued,” he said. “I would imagine it will remain that way for the rest of the week.”


The boy who died lived in the home with his mother, stepfather and younger sibling, Christiansen said.


No arrests have been made stemming from the death, he said.


The sheriff’s office, Milton Fire Department and Edgerton Fire Department responded to the call.



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