Police investigate after three former RCS students die of apparent drug overdoses

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published August 3, 2020


Police are investigating potential drug overdoses after three former Rochester Community Schools students were found dead in a hotel room in Auburn Hills July 29.

Auburn Hills police were dispatched to a hotel in the 1200 block of North Opdyke Road to check on the well-being of a 17-year-old girl from Rochester Hills at 4:36 p.m. 

Upon entering the room, police found three people dead — the 17-year-old girl, a 20-year-old man and an 18-year-old man, all from Rochester Hills — along with a 20-year-old man from Lake Orion who was unconscious. 

The Lake Orion man was transported to a hospital, where he was listed in stable condition at press time. 

Police said the deaths appear to be a drug overdose, but they noted that an investigation is underway to determine the circumstances and causes. No signs of foul play were found at the scene, according to reports.

The two deceased men were brothers who once attended Adams High School. The 17-year-old also once attended RCS.

RCS Superintendent Robert Shaner sent an email to parents notifying them of the situation.

“It is with deep sadness that we inform you about the passing of three former RCS students, ages 17, 18 and 20, from the classes of 2018 and 2020. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of these young adults during this very difficult time,” Shaner said in the email.

As the school community processes information about the loss, Shaner said great care and consideration is being focused on attending to the grief felt by students and staff. 

“We would like to stress that if you or your child is experiencing a crisis, please don’t wait to get help. The Common Ground Resource and Crisis Center provides 24/7 services and support. Call or text 1-800-231-1127, or go to: https://commongroundhelps.org/. This crisis/suicide line is also located on the back of student and staff ID cards,” Shaner said in the email.

District officials said RCS counselors, social workers and school psychologists are available to help. A “Talk to RCS” helpline — at (248) 963-0311, ext. 300 — is available to provide students with social-emotional support 8 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. District officials said building administrators are available after hours, and families can also email their student’s counselor.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the families of our former students. There is no greater loss than that of a child,” Shaner said in the email.

Auburn Hills police also responded to two other overdose calls within 24 hours of the July 29 incident, which resulted in the subjects being revived, as well as a third call at the hotel at about 12:45 p.m. July 30, where they found a 40-year-old Rochester Hills man dead from a suspected drug overdose. 

Police did not believe the incidents to be related.

“We would like to urge the public to be incredibly mindful of the substances they utilize as it is extremely heartbreaking to speak to the loved ones and explain that their son or daughter is deceased due to careless drug use,” Auburn Hills Police Chief Jeff Baker said in a statement.

If you or someone you know needs help with opioid use disorder, call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s national hotline, a 24-hour, 365-day-a-year treatment referral hotline at (800) 662-HELP (4357).

Call Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at (586) 498-1060.