A man suspected of supplying a lethal dose of fentanyl to a 16-year-old French Valley girl was being held without bail Friday.
Raymond Gene Tyrrell of French Valley was arrested and booked Thursday into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of murder.
According to Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Espinoza, Tyrrell allegedly provided the drugs that culminated in the death of the victim, whose identity was not released.
She died Wednesday night after collapsing, unconscious, at a residence in the 35000 block of Sugar Maple Street, near Leon Road, Espinoza said.
He said deputies were called to the location to investigate two possible fentanyl overdoses and discovered the girl and a man, also not identified, comatose. Both were taken to an Inland Empire trauma center, where the man was revived, but the girl succumbed to the toxic ingestion, Espinoza said.
“Detectives conducted an investigation and developed information that this was possibly a homicide,” the sergeant said.
He declined to elaborate on the circumstances.
Tyrrell was summoned to the sheriff’s Southwest station in Murrieta on Thursday afternoon and interviewed by detectives, after which he was taken into custody without incident.
No information was available regarding his background.
Earlier this week, Sheriff Chad Bianco and District Attorney Mike Hestrin held a news briefing to announce the first murder charge filed in the county for a fentanyl-related fatality.
In that case, Joseph Michael Costanza of Eastvale was charged with second-degree murder for the 2020 death of an 18-year-old man whom the defendant allegedly supplied with fentanyl. A 16-year-old boy who took the drugs allegedly sold by Costanza also overdosed, but he was resuscitated.
“All deaths from fentanyl toxicity are treated as possible homicides,” Bianco said.
According to Hestrin, although overdose murder cases can be difficult to prosecute under current state law, the District Attorney’s Office intends to take an aggressive stand going forward and will file charges whenever the evidence of culpability is clear.
Bianco cited statistics indicating fentanly-induced fatalities shot up 300% countywide between 2018 and 2020.
Even teaspoon-size doses of the synthetic opioid are known to be 80 to 100 more potent than heroin and similar narcotics, authorities said.
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