GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Police say they found a scale with a white powder on it in the apartment where a 7-year-old fatally overdosed on fentanyl.
Jeremy Thompson Jr. was found unresponsive June 11 at his mother Briasia Allen’s apartment near 32nd Street and Eastern Avenue SE in Grand Rapids.
A request for a search warrant written by a Grand Rapids Police Department detective and filed with the court says emergency responders were called to Allen’s home around 9:30 p.m. Allen said she had put Jeremy, who went by the nickname Duece, to bed shortly before 9 p.m. and discovered him unresponsive, blood and vomit in his bed, when she went to check on him. She said she took him to the bathroom, where she continued to try to wake him.
Medical records provided to Target 8 by family said Duece was in cardiac arrest and his jaw was clenched when EMTs got to him. They started CPR and doctors at the hospital give him epinephrine to treat what they suspected was an allergic reaction, but it had no effect.
He was ultimately pronounced dead at the hospital. Tests confirmed he died of “acute fentanyl toxicity.”
“Of note, mother was allowed bedside during resuscitation, but she chose to leave the room for grieving,” a Spectrum Health social worker wrote.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid increasingly found in fatal overdoses. The medical records do not indicate anyone tried giving the boy naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug more commonly known by the brand name Narcan. There’s also no indication that any of the medical professionals were told a drug overdose was possible. Their patient was only 7 years old.
The officers called to Allen’s apartment found an ‘acquaintance,’ Antonio Jones, coming out of Duece’s bedroom. According to the court document, Jones said Allen had called him, “frantic,” when she couldn’t wake Duece. He said he didn’t know what to do when he got there, so he started looking around, “trying to figure out what was going on.” He told officers Allen had pain medication and he wondered if Duece might have found and taken a pill.
On the morning of June 12, detectives came upon the “small black scale with a white powdery substance” under some clothes in a clothes basket in Allen’s room.
The detective who wrote the request for the search warrant said he “believe(d) the scale is a crucial piece of evidence that could yield useful toxicology data.”
Police also said they found a P80 handgun without a serial number and ammunition stashed in the closet in Duece’s bedroom. According to the court document, Allen told police she had just been cleaning that closet and didn’t see a gun then. She also said she didn’t have a gun.
‘WHEN I PRAY, I TALK TO HIM’
Duece had been staying with his mother for six days, but he lived with his father Jeremy Thompson Sr. and his grandmother, Mary Jones Thompson. Allen had only recently reentered her son’s life after about four years.
The Spectrum Health social worker noted there was tension between Thompson Sr. and Allen at the hospital.
“The (patient’s) father states ‘I should have known this would happen,'” the social worker wrote.
Thompson Sr. said he had been nervous about letting his son stay with Allen. He said she’d had problems with drugs.
“I went against my gut,” he told Target 8.
He said he allowed it only because he didn’t want to impose his problems with Allen on his son and because his family had encouraged him to give her a chance since she seemed to be doing better. And Duece, he said, loved his mother.
“I feel like my son loved his mom more than she loved him,” Thompson said. “Like he made more of an effort to want to be with his mom than his mom made to want to be with him.”
He called Allen “negligent” in not getting Duece help right away.
“I feel like my son was took from me,” he said. “When she (Allen) figured out something was wrong with him, she didn’t get him the help he needed.
“She was thinking, save herself,” he continued. “Cover up for herself before she thought, ‘Take whatever I did wrong myself and save my son.'”
An assessment from a Spectrum Health social worker said EMS found “chemicals and tide pods” on the floor. The Thompson family said they suspect those were were planted.
The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office said the death is under investigation. The prosecutor would not give News 8 any details about that investigation nor comment on any potential suspects.
Thompson’s grief weighs on him, he said, driving him to church bright and early each Sunday as he tries to make sense of what happened.
“When I pray, I talk to him,” he said. “Most of the time, it be stuff like, ‘I’m sorry.'”
He recalled his son as funny, always cracking jokes. He said Duece loved to make videos on TikTok of himself rapping and he was always dancing.
Thompson said he and Duece did everything together. They loved to play video games and go fishing.
“We rode bikes together,” he said.
He said it was something they taught Duece’s cousins and did together as a family.
“I taught Duece and Duece taught everybody else,” he said. “Me and him and all the kids riding bikes: Duece the leader, I follow behind and keep them in between us. We stop at every corner. (Duece) let me know when to go, go ahead. He cross the street, wait for all the kids to pass him, then he’d go back around all of them to get back in the front of them.”
“I’m missing my leader,” Thompson said.
Duece’s cousins miss him, too.
“(One of the kids) thinks church is heaven. So when he got to church, he wondered by Duece wasn’t there,” Thompson said.
Thompson said being Duece’s father was a responsibility he took seriously. More than that, he said, it changed him.
“It took me to have him for me to understand my ceiling is way higher than I thought it was and I have to be a way better person than I have been being,” he said.
With Duece gone, he said, he struggles to sleep. He thinks of his son frequently and talks about him whenever and to whomever he can. His faith helps him cope.
“It’s tough every day,” he said. “God don’t make mistakes and God got the last say. But it’s nothing in my that says it was my son’s time.”
“It’s not right,” he said.