10-year-old Florida boy dead after mysterious encounter with fentanyl

  • Shelby Lin Erdman, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
3:48 p.m Wednesday, July 19, 2017 Nation & World

Alton Banks went to the community swimming pool like so many other children in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood on a warm day in late June, but unlike the other kids, the 10-year-old collapsed and died later that night at home from a mysterious encounter with the deadly drug fentanyl.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said on Tuesday that investigators believe the boy came into contact with a mixture of heroin and fentanyl on June 23, but they’re not sure where. Rundle said it didn’t happen at his home.

“We believe it was somewhere between the park and the pool, the sidewalk. Maybe he touched something,” she said at a news conference.

“It could be as simple as touching it, a towel at the pool, perhaps, somebody else’s towel. We just don’t know.”

The Overtown neighborhood where the boy lived has been hit particularly hard by the opioid crisis, with nearly 300 people dying from fentanyl or fentanyl-mixture overdoses last year than homicides, according to the Miami Herald.

Mario Houben/AP
Police patrol a side street next to an apartment building in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood where a 10-year-old boy, who died from a fentanyl overdose last month, lived.

Florida authoritities are asking for the public’s help in this case

“We’re anxiously hoping that someone comes forward to help us solve this horrific death,” Rundle said in a Facebook post on Monday. 

Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just a drop of it can cause death,law enforcement officials said.

Banks is believed to be the youngest opioid victim in Florida.

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