KYLE, Texas — Officials reported three Hays CISD students have died in just a month after taking pills suspected to be laced with fentanyl.
Seventeen-year-old Kevin McConville was one of them. His mom found him dead in his room on Aug. 3. For his parents, Shannon and Darren McConville, it was unimaginable.
"No mom should ever, ever find their kid deceased," Shannon McConville said. "I could see the color of his face. It was all wrong. I ran to him and, at that moment, I knew there was no way of getting my son back."
Kyle Police Department Chief Jeff Barnett said his department alone has responded to seven suspected fentanyl-related overdoses this year.
"The beginning of 2022, is where we noticed an increasing amount of fentanyl overdoses," Barnett said.
Chief Barnett said the overdoses have shaken the entire community and taken a toll on first responders.
"To be there with them, along with our victim services unit and other officers, while they're processing the fact that they've just lost a loved one, this is absolutely heart-wrenching," Barnett said.
The police department, Hays CISD and local medics are now sounding the alarm. They held a news conference Wednesday to warn parents and students of the dangers of counterfeit pills.
RELATED: Three Hays CISD students have died from suspected fentanyl overdoses in past month, school district says
During that news conference, Jim Swisher, the assistant chief of Hays County EMS, said that "when EMS gets involved, that's most parents' worst day ever."
For the McConvilles, it was their worst day. It has left them questioning everything.
"We went through every stage of grief, you know, thinking, 'What could we have done better?' You know, the guilt. I mean, we just moved to Texas six months ago and it's like, well, what if we didn't move? What if I would have chosen one other house," Darren McConville said.
They remember Kevin as a good student who loved the outdoors and spending time with his family. They both said there was no indication that he was taking any pills.
"He gave me the old 'Come on, dad, I wouldn't take my pills.' and 'I'm not stupid,' and I believed him," the McConvilles said.
After his death, they learned from one of his friends that Kevin was taking pills to help him sleep at night. It was after he took one of those pills that he didn't wake up.
"I wish he opened up a little bit more at the end, you know. He might still be here," Darren McConville said.
The McConvilles are sharing their story to raise awareness.
"I don't want to read about any more kids," Shannon McConville said.
Kevin had plans after high school. He wanted to join the Navy. Now, Kevin lives on in photos and the memories of others.
"He's in our hearts. He's in our thoughts, and we'll always keep him there and everything we're going to do, going forward, it's going to be to help honor him," Darren McConville said.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline is 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Watch the full press conference by officials here:
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