Apex teen dies after taking LSD

Timothy Castaneda, 17, is dead, and another student is charged

ajames@newsobserver.comOctober 17, 2012 

— A 17-year-old Apex High School student who died after apparently taking the drug LSD was having seizures before rescue workers arrived, according to a nearly 15-minute 911 call.

Timothy Castaneda was unconscious when police and EMS were called about 1:45 a.m. Oct. 6 to a wooded area behind Beaver Creek Cinemas in the Beaver Creek Shopping Center. Castaneda was taken to WakeMed, and he died seven days later.

“They need to hurry up,” a caller told the 911 operator. “Somebody start dragging him. I honestly don’t know what to do. ... He’s foaming at the mouth.”

A few times, the caller can be heard saying, “C’mon Timmy, come out of it.”

Police charged fellow student Ryan Laches, 17, with two counts of selling LSD to Castaneda.

Castaneda was with three other teenage boys when police arrived. All three independently said Laches had supplied the LSD, according to a search warrant made public Tuesday. The other teens told police that Castaneda had taken two “hits” of LSD about 11 p.m. and soon began “freaking out,” according to the warrant.

The teens said Castaneda’s behavior continued until he collapsed shortly before they called 911 nearly three hours later, according to the warrant.

Bob Whitaker of Cary said his 15-year-old son was at the same party as Castaneda that night. The two were friends. The next morning, police arrived at Whitaker’s house to ask him whether his son was alive and safe.

“I was totally shocked,” Whitaker said.

Police told him that they thought his son also had taken the drug and were concerned that it may have affected him similarly. His son, who was fine, had not told him what happened to Castaneda.

Whitaker said he was making his son go to Castaneda’s wake so he can understand the magnitude of what happened.

The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Chapel Hill has not said how Castaneda died.

Gary Sauls said in his 30 years working with patients who are drug users, he has never seen anyone die from LSD. Sauls, who works with people ages 13 to 24 at the Duke Center for Adolescent Substance Use Treatment, thinks other factors may have contributed to Castaneda’s death.

“It is a great tragedy,” he said.

Sauls said what concerns him about the incident is that some parents may see their children experimenting with drugs and assume it’s just a phase.

“Ten to 15 percent of people do not grow out of it,” Sauls said. “It really depends on intervention.”

Sauls said the duty to prevent more teens from dying from illegal drugs belongs to the school system as much as it does to the parents.

“There needs to be more intervention from the school system, more education than just a health class about the risks of drugs,” he said.

The search warrant indicated that police seized a cellphone and cellphone charger as well as eight pieces of notebook paper with writing on them from Laches’ home on Double Spring Court. Police say they are consulting with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office on the case to determine whether Laches will face any additional charges.

Staff Writer Aliana Ramos contributed to this report.

James: 919-829-4870

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