A New Jersey man was arrested this week in connection with his 12-year-old nephew’s fentanyl overdose.
According to NJ.com, the boy was found unresponsive on his school bus Jan. 24. A school nurse and emergency personnel tried to resuscitate the child before he was transferred to a hospital in the Washington Township and then to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where he died eight days later. The medical examiner’s office determined he died from fentanyl intoxication.
The boy was living reportedly living at a Gloucester Township home, where his uncle—35-year-old Troy Nokes—was allegedly manufacturing synthetic opioids. Authorities say that just days before the child’s overdose, Nokes forced his nephew to clean paraphernalia that contained fentanyl. Witnesses claim the child was not wearing gloves when was handling the contaminated items.
Nokes was taken into custody Thursday on a variety of charges including aggravated manslaughter, endangering the welfare of a child, strict liability for a drug-induced death, maintaining a drug production facility, and employing a juvenile in a drug distribution scheme. The Camden County Prosecutor’s office also confirmed a woman named Joanna Johnson was also arrested in the case. She was charged with tampering with evidence and hindering the apprehension of Nokes. Both are currently being held at Camden County Correctional Facility.
“During this challenging time, the District has offered counseling services to all of our students and staff and will continue in this effort,” Gloucester Township Public School Superintendent John Bilodeau wrote in a statement. “Any parent or guardian should feel free to contact central administration, their child’s Principal or Guidance Counselor if you have an issue you would like to discuss.”
Authorities confirm the investigation is ongoing.