Columbus 12-year-old’s death at birthday party ruled a fentanyl overdose

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — An autopsy has revealed that 12 year old Kanye Champelle died in July of an accidental overdose of fentanyl. The report from the Franklin County Coroner’s Office comes as a shock and surprise to family members and to Columbus police.

Champelle’s father, Robert Bren Jr says his son attended a sleepover birthday party for one of his cousins at an east side apartment complex. When medics arrived at the scene, they found Kanye unconscious and unresponsive and removed a wad of chewing gum from his throat.

Kanye did not recover. He died two days later.

But an autopsy released this week reveals that while choking was a factor – it was not the gum that killed him. Kanye died as a result of accidental acute intoxication by fentanyl.

Franklin County Coroner, Dr. Anahi Ortiz, said there was nothing to indicate the fentanyl had been injected. The autopsy is not specific on how the fentanyl got into the 12 year old’s system.

Columbus Police spokesman Sgt. Dean Worthington says the boy’s death is now under investigation.

“Our Narcotics Bureau is looking into it and our Homicide Bureau is looking into it,” Worthington said. “What we want to know is how the child got in touch with the fentanyl. Where did it come from.”

Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin and is now responsible for the majority of drug overdose deaths in Franklin County.

Kanye’s mother Latice Champelle says she did not have custody of Kanye because of her own past history of drug use. She’s been clean now for more than three years.

“I’m not on drugs anymore and this is the reason why,” Champelle said. “Because I didn’t want to die. I don’t want to die. This is not fair.”

Champelle says she was never satisfied with the explanation that her son had choked to death on a piece of gum. But the autopsy results were a complete shock.

“I don’t understand how he got ahold of that stuff,” Champelle said. “How did he get that? Where was it at? Why would you all have it around my son?” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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