Families of poisoned teenagers speak out

Aug 30, 2014 4:59 PM by Charlene Cheng

A 16-year-old Cottonwood boy who died last week is remembered as kind, energetic, and a loving big brother.

"Jimmy was well-loved. I remember him playing in band in school, doing the marching band. Playing football in the yard with his sisters," said his mother, Lisa Sarver.

"He loved his sisters, and I remember him playing with them, he would bounce them around in the bouncy chairs. He had a good heart, it's very unfortunate what happened," added Tony Brigman, who helped raise him.

According to the Anderson Police Department, Jimmy died after ingesting a poison he mistook for cocaine.

Two other teenagers were hospitalized after snorting the same substance.

Rita Ortez has been the legal guardian of one of them for the last three years, but admits she's been struggling.

"I'm frustrated, I'm sad, I'm angry. I'm angry that he made a poor choice, I'm frustrated that I had very little resources. There's very little assistance, I reached out to counselors, I reached out to social workers, I reached out to APD, I reached out to juvenile hall, not a single person has offered me any assistance, any guidance for him, other than giving him a pill," she said.

As a former addict, Jimmy's mother is making an impassioned plea that other parents learn from this tragedy.

"One bad choice, you can lose your life over it, I just want parents to talk to their kids. Maybe it can make a difference in somebody else's life," she said.

Jimmy's family is in the process of setting up a memorial fund through North Valley Bank.

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