Age: 24 | State: California | County: Santa Clara | Case Status: Closed
On Thanksgiving weekend, November of 2020, the unspeakable happened. Our beautiful, beloved and cherished son Jacob was found by his girlfriend, unresponsive on his bed, in the chidhood bedroom he had grown up in. Paramedics and EMTs could not revive him. Our handsome and vibrant boy, who had less than eight hours earlier had made me promise to wake him so that we could make breakfast together, was gone. One minute we were a happy family celebrating Thanksgiving; all of us…Jacob’s dad, his older sisters, his older brother (my stepson) thrilled that he was home to visit from Oklahoma; the next minute, our lives would be changed forever. In the traumatic, anguish filled seven hours of waiting for the cornoner to arrive, my son under a yellow sheet of the entry way into our home, me sobbing on top of him; we had no idea of what happened. A deputy had found a single pill, a white bar Xanax, in my son’s pocket. A search of his phone showed that he had made contact with a former classmate the previous evening, asking for Xanax. It didn’t make sense…killed by a Xanax? We thought of other possible causes…an aneurysm? Asthma? His heart? Unknown diabetes? One of my daughters began to search for local news stories on Xanax…and that was when she found only one, single post, on social media, a brave post by another local mother who had lost her son to a fake Xanax, deliverd by Snapchat, filled with Fentanyl. Her post, filled with anguish over the loss of her 17 year old son, her only child, demanded to know why the community had not been warned. Nothing about it in the local papers! It was at that moment that we became aware that my son was possibly poisoned, by something we had never knew of or had ever heard of. In less than two months of my son’s death, another young man died, a friend of my son’s, from a substance bought from the same dealer. Upon contacting the grieving family, I learned that evidence was found on their son’s phone, confirming the dealer as the one who sold pills to my son. I immediately took screen shots of everything she sent me, and that began my weekly routine of calling, emailing and letter writing to the Santa Clara County Sheriff, the Gilroy PD, the Coroner, and the D.A., at first asking, and then demanding an investigation into my son’s death. After several months of my contsant communication attempts, two detectives finally arrived at my door to interview us. Told us that they had interviewed the dealer, but that he was only the “low level dealer”. Found out that he had been released from jail only seven days before the death of my son, and arrested again within a month after my son’s death, on unrelated drug charges; eight times arrested in the past two years alone, all drug related. They officially opened an investigation; I asked why one had not been started the day my son died. Their response was that it had been an “assumed overdose”, and that investigations are never done for that. At this point, five months after losing my son, we still did not have his autopsy report; the detectives asked me to let them know when we received the report. After seven months of waiting, it finally arrived, and it confirmed what we had learned to suspect; enough Fentanyl in that pill to kill several people. Cause and manner listed…”accidental overdose”. I could not believe it! I immediately called the coroner and asked her to please change the cause of death to “poisoning”. I was given a lengthy response about “finger pointing, the user’s choice, addiction, acceptance”. “Who the hell dies from one Xanax?” I yelled. “It was fake! Poison! He was deceived! He asked for Xanax, not Fentanyl!” Within a few weeks after this, I noticed I had stopped getting communication from the detectives. When I called to inquire, they simply told me the case was closed, due to the coroner’s report status of my son’s “accidental” overdose; the blame was placed entirely on my son, along with the attitude that he was just another dead user. They stopped responding to my emails and calls. Case closed. In anger and frustration, I continued calling the DA, and along with Lisa, my sister-in-grief, we began hounding the local paper, schools and school board, the city council, social media…anything to bring this poison within our commuity to the public eye. We continue our fight together, trying to bring awareness and education to Gilroy. The new supervising D.A. has told us he is re-looking into our cases, along with others in Santa Clara County, but my son’s case is still officially closed, the dealer still out on the streets. No justice for our beautiful boys.
The heartbreak and anguish is unbearable. In twenty-two days, it will be two years that we woke up to that nightmare of a day, a nightmare that has continued every day and will continue every day for the rest of our lives. Jacob was and always will be deeply loved, deeply missed. He was a shining ray of light, laughter and love to all who knew him. There are no words to describe the pain, the loss, the emptiness of not having his physical presence here. He was the loud, silly, funny one in our family. It is so very quiet without him. I cry every single day. Every. Single. Day. My beautiful son, my youngest, my baby boy. He was complex ADHD, and we think he was trying to self medicate for the anxiety that comes with it. He had his whole life aheaad of him, big plans, a business, many friends, a beautiful girlfriend he wanted to marry in the backyard of our home he grew up in, a little dog he loved. It was all stolen from him; he was stolen from us, by Fentanyl. He was poisoned. Our handsome, athletic, healthy, strong and vibrant boy, poisoned, from one tiny pill. I love you so very much, my beautiful Jacob-boy. You did not want to die, and I will never allow your name to be forgotten. The earth was a better place with you in it. Forever 24.
– Geralyn Vasquez, Jacob’s heartbroken mama