A 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in the overdose death of a student at Helen Bernstein High School earlier this week, Los Angeles police said Thursday.
The boy, a student at an independent charter school located on the same campus in Hollywood, also was accused in an overdose that left the girl's friend hospitalized, Chief Michel Moore said. A 16-year-old boy also was arrested and booked on suspicion of drug sales for allegedly selling narcotics to a third student at Lexington Park near the high school.
Both teens under arrest are students at Apex Academy who knew each other, Moore said. Their names are not being released due to their ages.
Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency are working to find the distributors who provided the 15- and 16-year-old boys with the pills, Moore said.
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“There is a drug organization behind this,” Moore said.
The Los Angeles County Coroner's office also identified the teenage girl who tragically died of an apparent overdose in a bathroom in the school as 15-year-old Melanie Ramos. Ramos and another teenage girl were found on the Bernstein High campus around 9 p.m. on Tuesday, when a man went looking for his daughter after she did not return home from school.
The father went to the Bernstein High campus in Hollywood to search for his daughter, and found her in the courtyard of the school, suffering from an overdose.
The girl told her father that her friend -- Ramos -- was still inside the building. The man and a school employee found Ramos unresponsive in the restroom.
She died at the scene.
The man's daughter was taken to a hospital and is OK as of Wednesday morning.
Police believe the two girls bought what they were told was Percocet -- a prescription drug containing oxycodone, a narcotic, and acetominophen, the painkiller used in Tylenol.
The two girls made their purchase in Lexington Park, just south of Bernstein High, earlier that same day, according to police. When the two teenagers took the pills, they immediately felt ill.
According to the LAPD, someone was selling pills laced with fentanyl, which contributed to the two girls' overdoses.
Two additional overdose victims were also found nearby on Tuesday, police said, and they are believed to be part of the same case. Those two victims have not been identified, but the LAPD said one is a teenage boy who went to another local high school. No information about the other, fourth total victim has been made available.
Those additional victims also purchased drugs in Lexington Park.
LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho went to Bernstein High Wednesday morning to meet with the dead girl's family. He lashed out at the scourge of drugs being sold to teen students, saying people have been selling narcotics in Lexington Park for weeks.