UPDATE: A teen girl has been charged in the deaths of 2 Fayette County students.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A father has identified his daughter as one of the Fayette County teenagers who died Tuesday after a suspected drug overdose outside a school.
Mark Thorne said his daughter Alyssa Thorne was 16 years old.
“She had a lot of hopes and dreams man that is now just a dream,” he said.
The names of another girl who died and a third student who was hospitalized in critical condition have not been released by authorities or family. Fayette County Schools said both were 17.
According to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, the third student was released from the hospital Wednesday.
A cause of death hasn’t been identified pending an autopsy, but the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office said the deaths are suspected to be the result of an overdose.
Thorne said he believes his daughter died from cocaine laced with fentanyl.
Thorne said he lives hours away, and Alyssa lived in a foster home. He said the two spoke by FaceTime around 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.
“She was telling me that the boys were bringing cocaine to school and I was telling her don’t mess with that. I don’t want to have to bury you that was my exact words to her and that night she’s dead,” he said. “She said daddy I love you. I won’t do it and I don’t like the way it does me. I’m not going to do it and then bam.”
Her father said days before the overdose, she was upset on Mother’s Day.
“She had smoked a little weed, you know, she been through a lot. Her mom abandoned her three years back,” he said.
The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office said the students were found at Fayette Ware High School around 4:40 Tuesday, a few hours before graduation.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is assisting the sheriff’s office with the investigation.
Chief Deputy Ray Garcia said already in 2023, Fayette County has seen 42 overdoses, four of them deadly. He said he doesn’t know what’s causing the recent spike in cases.
Fayette County Schools said in a news release Wednesday that the students involved were juniors at the high school. They said grief counselors would be available for students and staff.
A balloon release vigil will be held in the school’s rear parking lot at 5 p.m. Thursday.
Thorne is sending this message to other teens battling drug abuse and peer pressure.
“Know what you’re doing and getting into. It’s not worth the pain with or without the drugs,” he said. “Look, now my daughter is dead at 16 and it could be anybody.”
Alyssa Thorne’s family has created a GoFundMe to help cover funeral expenses. If you would like to donate, click here.