AURORA, Colo. — Younger and younger kids are being impacted by the opiate epidemic.
On Wednesday, 13-year-old Jose Hernandez was found dead inside his home.
According to his family, it appears to be from an accidental fentanyl overdose. Jose just started 8th grade this week at Aurora Hills Middle School.
"Jose, he was as good kid. He was always smiling," said Margarita Flores, Jose's grandmother.
Her grandson's smile is one she'll always hold in her heart.
She said, with her son translating, that Jose was a respectful, sweet boy who was doing well in school and loved to skateboard.
"I was going downstairs, he told me 'Hey mommy. I love you so much,' and those were his last words to me," she said, with tears in her eyes.
The next morning, Flores woke up early to make her husband's lunch, like she always does. She noticed the light was on in the bathroom, but when she knocked, no one answered.
"I opened the door. I saw Jose leaning against the sink and I moved him and he didn't give me an answer," she said. "He wouldn't move or give me an answer."
Jose's family called 911, but it was too late. He was already gone.
“There was no hope for my little kid. He knows that I love him and that I will always love him," she said. "I miss him so much. How I wish he could come back to us."
Jose's uncle, Abisaid Hernandez, says Jose died from an accidental fentanyl overdose.
"There was a lighter and little plastic tube right next to him. I guess the detective later on that day told us that they found foil paper in his pocket," said Hernandez. "I just wish they could do more about it and just stop this because it's just going out of hand."
He said his nephew wasn't a bad kid, that he loved meeting new friends and making them feel like part of the family.
“I would just say to the parents, keep an eye open to your kids if they’re feeling sad or depressed or something, help them out you know?" said Hernandez. "I know my nephew wasn’t depressed or anything like that, but maybe he was a curious kid and wanted to try it out.”
Hernandez said his nephew was like a son to him, having helped raise him since Jose was just 3-years-old.
"It's going to feel weird without him here," he said. "We're going to remember him here. He's always going to be in our hearts."
Jose was a big brother to two younger siblings, Miguel and Christian. Hernandez and Flores said the boy's mother was deported in 2013.
“Only thing that I ask for is I just want help for my daughter. Hopefully a visa," said Flores. "We are looking into that, but we’re trying to look for humanitarian parole to see if she can come back to the U.S. to say the last goodbye to her son.”
The family has created an online fundraiser to help them pay for the burial costs.
“We are getting a lot of help and we appreciate that," said Flores. "We appreciate the community."
Aurora Police said the investigation is still ongoing.
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