13-Year-Old Colorado Boy Dies from Accidental Fentanyl Overdose, Family Says

fentanyl overdose
Jose Hernandez.Hernandez family.

Jose Hernandez was found hunched over a bathroom sink by his grandmother, who said he "loved his family."

A devastated Colorado family is mourning the loss of a 13-year-old boy they say died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl.

Margarita Flores-Velasquez choked back tears as she described how she found her grandson hunched over a bathroom sink early Wednesday morning.

"I'm shattered, I'm hurt, I've cried like you could never imagine," Flores-Velasquez told KCNC-TV. "I said 'Jose, Jose, I tried moving him. He was limp, cold, his mouth and fingers were purple."   

The boy had just started eighth grade at Aurora Hills Middle School on Tuesday, his family said. A day later, he was dead. Relatives said they believe Jose had taken fentanyl that was given to him by another student.

"He seemed OK," said his uncle, Abisaid Hernandez. "There was no history of him doing any types of drugs or anything like that. I think it was just the crowd he decided to hang out with, and maybe them thinking it was good to tell him 'hey maybe try this out.'"

Jose loved skateboarding and had a ready, easy smile, his family said.

The boy had two younger siblings that he and his uncle helped care for.

"We would stay with them, change their diapers, they are like my little babies," Hernandez said. "It really, really hurts to lose him. He had his life ahead of him. He had all these amazing ideas."

Jose and his siblings were living with their grandmother after their mother was deported to Mexico, the family said.

The family is awaiting autopsy results for an official cause of death. The Aurora Police Department said it was investigating the boy's death, but would not comment because the investigation is still open.

A GoFundMe account has been established by his grandmother to help pay for funeral costs.

"My desire is to provide a proper burial for my grandson. I am a grandmother raising three grandchildren. This unexpected loss is an extreme hardship to my family and me," she wrote on the fundraising site.

Jose's mother is trying to obtain a temporary visa to return to Colorado. A funeral is scheduled for Aug. 26.

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