Teen dies after taking counterfeit pills

Angie Talken
Chillicothe News

A Chillicothe teen was found dead on Sunday morning in the 400 block of Cherry Street.

According to a press release from Chillicothe Police Chief Jon Maples at approximately 11:30 a.m., on Sunday, Chillicothe Police Officers were dispatched to an unresponsive and not breathing 17-year-old female. The Chillicothe Department of Emergency Services was also dispatched to provide medical assistance. The female was determined to be deceased.

Livingston County Coroner Scott Lindley said he pronounced 17-year-old Faith Richardson dead at about 12 p.m., Sunday.

"Officers conducted an investigation due to the suspicious nature of the death. Officers learned the female had ingested counterfeit “prescription” pills. Since the pills are counterfeit, they sometimes contain dangerous amounts of controlled substances which cause overdosing up to death," Maples said. "Officers have recently responded to other incidents of overdosing due to the counterfeit pills, however the persons did not die."

DEA Fact Sheet for Counterfeit pills

During the investigation, officers discovered who distributed the controlled substance to the victim. At that time Tehya Kelley, 23, was arrested, and was later charged with four counts of delivery of a controlled substance and involuntary manslaughter.

Throughout the day Sunday, officers continued to investigate and at 8:39 p.m., Sunday night Chillicothe Police Officers, Livingston County Sheriff’s Deputies and Missouri State Highway Patrol Troopers executed a search warrant in the 1200 block of Polk Street, after applying for and obtaining the search warrant through the Livingston County Court. During the search, officers located more of the counterfeit pills along with other controlled substances. As a result, Jeremiah Horton, 33,  was arrested and  charged with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance.

Lindley said Richardson's cause of death has not been formally determined.

This link https://www.dea.gov/.../DEA_Fact_Sheet-Counterfeit_Pills.pdf provides information about the counterfeit pills and the danger and potency of the pills.

"Please talk with your friends, family members, and children about this danger and how to avoid this. These pills have been a problem for larger cities and are trickling into our area," Maples said. "We have worked with the DEA and other agencies in this area in an attempt to combat these issues. We want to educate the citizenry and work together to stop this problem in our area."

Kelley has a criminal history that includes a 2015 charge of distribution/deliver/manufacture/produce or attempt to posses with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. She plead guilty to the charge and received five years probation and a suspended imposition of sentence which was revoked in November 2017 after she violated her probation by failing to report to her probation officer and testing positive for methamphetamine.

Horton has a criminal history including charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and fourth degree assault.

Both have plead not guilty to the current charges and are due in court at 9 a.m., Oct. 27 for a bond hearing.