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Hays County man charged with felony murder in connection with 15-year-old's fentanyl death

According to the superintendent of Hays CISD, this victim is the sixth student the district has lost to fentanyl since last summer.

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — A man has been arrested and charged with felony murder in connection with the fentanyl death of a 15-year-old student at Lehman High School.

On April 11, the Hays County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) and Hays County EMS were dispatched to a home in the 100 block of Cotton Gin Road in Kyle. Once first responders were on the scene, they discovered a 15-year-old student unresponsive and not breathing. 

Life-saving measures were performed, but the 15-year-old was later pronounced dead at the scene.

During the initial investigation, the HCSO's Criminal Investigation Division and Special Services Division (SSD) determined that the teen's death was caused by an accidental fentanyl overdose. This was later confirmed by an autopsy conducted by the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office. 

Also during the investigation, the SSD identified Jaquell Desean Ray, 18, as the person believed to have sold the fentanyl to the 15-year-old. 

Ray was arrested on April 11 and charged with delivery of a controlled substance or marijuana to a minor – a second-degree felony – for a separate case. He was transferred to the Hays County Jail and placed on a $100,000 bond. 

On May 1, the SSD filed additional charges on Ray for the April 11 death. 

Ray was charged with delivery of a controlled substance or marijuana to a minor, a second-degree felony, and felony murder, a first-degree felony. His additional bonds were set at $100,000 for the delivery charge and $300,000 for the murder charge, totaling $400,000 total. 

The HCSO will hold a joint press conference with the Hays County District Attorney's Office and the DEA Fentanyl Task Force at 3 p.m. Wednesday to further discuss details about the case and arrest.

Anyone with any information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact HCSO Deputy Zach Piatt at 512-393-7896 or by email. You can also contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-324-TIPS, through the Crimestoppers website or through the HCSO app. 

This is the second arrest of this type in Hays County so far this year. Back in February, 18-year-old Jubenal Flores Sanchez was arrested in connection with a 14-year-old girl's fatal fentanyl overdose. Sanchez was charged with delivery of a controlled substance and manufacture and delivery of a controlled substance.

In an email to the Hays CISD community on Wednesday, Superintendent Eric Wright said that this most recent death is the sixth student the district has lost to fentanyl since last summer.

Wright said Hays CISD has been engaged in educating students and families about the dangers of counterfeit pills in the area. Wright also said the district is stepping up its educational efforts ahead of the summer break and intends to provide assemblies to all of its secondary students featuring a parent who lost her child, a Hays CISD student, to fentanyl last August.

"Fentanyl is happening everywhere and it is among the leading causes of death among youth in the United States. Early on in our experience with fentanyl, we made the decision to speak about it," Wright said. "Not talking about it doesn’t help solve the problem. We will continue to speak about this and do everything we can to fight it."

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