WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Brandon Wentz became mayor of a small town in Eastern Pennsylvania at 22, but he was struggling with heroin addiction.
- After resigning as mayor, Wentz’ addiction grew worse, especially when he became close with Ryan Fessler, also an opioid user.
- When Wentz died of an overdose after a “session” with Fessler, the police wanted to question him but he also fatally overdosed on heroin and fentanyl.
Brandon Wentz had a lot going for him.
Known by all as ‘Honcho’, he became mayor of Mount Carbon, population 87, in eastern Pennsylvania’s coal region, at the age of 22. Universally well-liked, he had so many friends and could make anyone laugh.
But Wentz had a ‘dark side’. He was dabbling in heroin.
Months after becoming mayor, Wentz pleaded guilty to DUI and was forced to resign from office and leave town. Agonized while writing his resignation letter, he felt he has let his constituents down. Finally, he sent the letter to his secretary and met up with Ryan Fessler, a close friend.
The next morning, on November 9, 2017, Wentz was found dead due to an overdose of heroin and fentanyl.
Following his death, authorities launched an investigation and sought out to question Fessler. But they never got the chance. Fessler fatally overdosed on heroin and fentanyl-the same poison that killed his friend Wentz.
In recent years, fentanyl has flooded the illegal drug market. It has emerged as the culprit for two-thirds of 5,456 overdose deaths in 2017 in Pennsylvania, for which President Trump declared the opioid epidemic to be a “public health emergency”.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, cheaply produced and more lethal than heroin.
Speaking publicly for the first time about her son’s death, Janet Firestone said, “I would’ve never thought my son would be a statistic. But Brandon made a mistake and paid the ultimate price.”
Fessler whom Brandon Wentz befriended also struggled with drugs, first with Percocet then on to heroin. “Ryan wasn’t a bad person, but he had his own demons too & demons will invite more demons,” said Wentz’s friend Brandon Radziewicz.
After Wentz’s death, Fessler went to see Firestone and promised to ‘turn himself in’. But he did not. He even told her girlfriend that it was he who gave the drugs that killed Wentz. Consumed by guilt and grief, his drug use grew worse.
As suggested by his mother, he agreed to go for treatment and live with his father in Florida in early 2018. But he had to go back to Pennsylvania for a scheduled court appearance on unrelated drug charges. Learning that he’s coming back, Firestone alerted police who planned to go talk to Fessler about Wentz’s death. But it was too late.
Even as she understood Fessler’s struggles, Firestone couldn’t help but feel frustrated that the truth about her son’s death will never come out. Kramer says she understands Firestone’s feelings because she too feels the same. “I get it, I truly do. You think about it forever. You want to hate the one who gave it to them…..”
Police are currently investigating Fessler’s death and the supplier who gave him the opioids.
Source: ABC News