While Andrew Frye lay dying on the floor of a Super 8 motel room in Green, Ohio, in April, a party raged around him.
The attendees — high from a mixture of heroin and fentanyl — weren’t other teenagers, but the 16-year-old’s mother and grandmother, police said.
Prosecutors would later say the very people who should have protected the teenager from the dangers of drug use were the ones who walked him to a ledge and “enabled” him to jump.
“We have evidence of drug abuse by more than one person, more than one relative of the deceased,” Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in April. “It appears his mother, her friend and his grandmother, and a friend of the grandmother, all had a hand in obtaining and disseminating heroin among themselves.
“The evidence in this case turns my stomach,” Barry said.
Six months later, the evidence was enough to convince a judge to sentence the teen’s mother, Heather Frye, and her mother, Brenda Frye, to nine years each in prison, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. The women pleaded guilty in August to multiple charges, including corrupting another with drugs, child endangering, tampering with evidence and involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 11 years in prison, according to the paper.
Two other people in the room at the time — Jessica Irons, a friend of Heather Frye’s, and Donald Callaghan, a friend of Brenda Frye’s — faced lesser charges in connection with the teenager’s death.
“The ultimate price was not paid by either of you,” Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Lynne Callahan told the Frye women, according to ABC affiliate WEWS. “The ultimate price was paid by Andrew. It boils down to personal responsibility and because of that a 16-year-old boy is dead.”
“I want to apologize to my family and to everybody that loved Andrew,” Brenda Frye said in court.
Attorneys for the two women had argued that nobody in the hotel room intended for the teen to use heroin; instead, lawyers said, the drugs were intended for a friend, according to the Journal.
After the teenager’s death, Barry, the sheriff, told reporters that it was “quite apparent” that the teenager was beyond help by the time rescuers arrived, according to Fox affiliate WJW. The adults with him had attempted to hide needles and drugs in the room.
Citing court and prison records, the Beacon Journal reported that the women have a history of drug-related crime and that the teenager’s mother spent time in prison on three occasions between 2007 and 2014.