Local News

Father: Experimenting with drugs cost Apex teen his life

Posted October 25, 2012 9:07 p.m. EDT
Updated October 25, 2012 11:51 p.m. EDT

— The father of an Apex High School student who died from an apparent drug overdose earlier this month said Thursday that his son was a normal teen who made a fatal mistake.

"He was experimenting with this kind of stuff and it cost him his life," said Tito Castaneda, whose 17-year-old son Timothy collapsed at a party on Oct. 6 after taking two hits of LSD, or acid.

He died a week later.

Tito Castaneda said he doesn't believe his son had a drug problem, but that the teen enjoyed having fun and hanging out with friends.

"He was like a normal kid ... He had a lot of friends," Tito Castaneda said. "We never had any issues with him."

On Oct. 6, after Tito Castaneda went to bed, his son and about 12 other teenagers went to a party in a wooded area behind Beaver Creek Cinemas. Investigators say Timothy Castaneda called his classmate, 17-year-old Ryan John Laches, to ask him to bring LSD to the party. 

Laches, who has since been charged with two counts of selling a controlled substance, told investigators he sold and gave away the drug to several teens at the party, according to a search warrant.

Sometime before 2 a.m., Timothy Castaneda's friend called 911 to report that the teen had collapsed and was bleeding and foaming from the mouth. 

"Around 2:30 in the morning, I got the call from the police," Tito Castaneda said. "They told me he was in pretty bad condition."

Timothy Castaneda had had a seizure, authorities said, and his brain was already badly damaged by the time he was taken to a local hospital. 

"He got sicker. His vital signs got weaker," Tito Castaneda said. "I realized there was no hope he would get his brain back."

He died Oct. 13.

"We are trying to cope with it. It is very painful," Tito Castaneda said. "Sometimes I cry, I break down."

He said he hopes other parents will learn from this tragedy, and take concerns about drug use seriously.

"We are good parents, raising our kids the right way," he said. "Timmy never gave us any indication he was experimenting with any of this ever."

He said parents have to be vigilant in keeping their children safe from drugs and peer pressure.

"They don't think this can happen to them," he said. "(But) the drugs are everywhere."

More charges and arrests are possible in connection with the teen's death. Authorities are awaiting the results of an autopsy.

Apex Police Chief Jack Lewis said Wednesday that teens take big risks when they experiment with drugs.

"Every time these drugs get used, (people risk having) a life-alerting, life-changing, all the way to the end of the spectrum, which is life-ending, result," Lewis said. "Those are pretty high stakes."

Tito Castaneda said he and his family still struggle to cope.

"We are in shock. We can not believe (Timmy) is not here anymore," he said. "He did not deserve to die. He was full of life, and that breaks my heart."