Wisconsin girl dies of heroin overdose in Oak Park
Updated: December 18, 2011 8:31AM
When Lori Ciotola of Sheboygan, Wis., last spoke to her daughter at 6:45 p.m. Nov. 7, the 17-year-old high school senior was upbeat.
“She said, ‘I’ll be in touch, mom, don’t worry about me. I’ll be with good people,’” Ciotola recalled.
But Kimberly ended up with a 22-year-old man she had just met online, who took her to an apartment in downtown Oak Park. And by 5:17 a.m. Tuesday, the Sheboygan North High School student was dead from an apparent heroin overdose, police said.
“She put herself in danger and was too naive,” Lori Ciotola said Saturday, a day after the funeral service for her daughter. “She was too trusting of people.”
Oak Park police are investigating the case to see whether foul play was involved but no charges have been filed.
Police and paramedics responded to a call at 5:17 a.m. of a young female unconscious and not breathing at 855 Lake St.
The girl was found unresponsive in a third-floor hallway of the building. She was transported to Rush Oak Park Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 5:40 a.m.
Oak Park Detective Cmdr. Ladon Reynolds said the girl arrived by Greyhound bus downtown about 8:30 p.m., where she was picked up by a 22-year-old man she met on the Web.
The man, who called police was questioned and released, though Reynolds said they are still investigating the circumstances of the death. At the time of the police response, a dispatcher cautioned arriving officers that “the caller is not being very cooperative.”
Reynolds said the man had been removed from his apartment in September, but had managed to reenter it without authorization.
Reynolds said police are still investigating whether the man provided the girl with heroin. He said there was no indication that she had brought any drugs with her in her belongings.
“It appeared to be a heroin overdose,” he said. “We’re still investigation, pending a tox(icology) report.”
Lori Ciotola said she was told by police the man had a history of drug problems but was now clean, but had “hooked up” Kimberly with heroin users in a nearby park.
Her mother acknowledged that her daughter had “troubles” but denied her daughter — who liked to dance and sing, and spoke Italian — had ever done heroin.
Ciotola said the girl was planning to go to work on an organic farm, although she didn’t tell her family she was going to leave.
“She was out to save the world and earth,” Ciotola said.
“We are anxious to find out” what happened, a distraught Lori Ciotola said.
“Did my daughter inject herself? I’d like to know.”
But she also acknowledges that neither she nor her husband could help the girl.
“I didn’t expect her to leave,” she said. “I didn’t expect her to die. I’ll never get her back.”
Last week, Police Chief Rick Tanksley expressed disgust at the circumstances surrounding the girl’s death.
“She arrives here Monday night, and eight hours later she’s dead,” he said.
Tanksley also voiced frustration at the chronic problems associated with the building. Asked if police had contacted the buildings owners regarding the latest incident, he replied, “We will be.”