By SDCN Editor
San Diego, CA–Attorneys from Singleton Schreiber announced Monday that they have filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the mother of a 16-year-old boy who died of a fentanyl overdose while in custody at a San Diego juvenile detention center.
According to the complaint, in 2021, Brenda Arguelles’ son (a minor whose identity is being protected) was a juvenile detainee at the Juvenile Hall located at 2801 Meadow Lark Drive in San Diego. He was set to be released on September 26. However, he was checked into the emergency room of the on-site clinic on September 5 due to allegations of fentanyl use and vomiting. He was returned to his cell on September 6, but his mother was never made aware of the incident by the juvenile hall officials.
On September 7, 2021, the boy entered the cell of another detainee who was an alleged fentanyl dealer at the facility. The next morning, the boy was found dead from a fentanyl overdose.
“Ms. Arguelles has been grieving the loss of her son for almost 1 ½ years without answers as to how this tragedy happened when her son was supposed to be under close supervision while he was in juvenile hall,” said Kimberly Trimble, Counsel at Singleton Schreiber. “We hope that this lawsuit provides a way for Ms. Arguelles to get her answers and also holds the County accountable for those who failed in their duties to care for her son while he was in their custody.”
The 16-year-old boy was the oldest of 4 children in the Arguelles family. He was initially taken into custody due to drug and alcohol abuse and was given a psychiatric assessment at the juvenile detention center. He was diagnosed with acute PTSD and adjustment disorder and was prescribed medication by the staff to help with these issues. He was even enrolled in a drug-related treatment group while in the custody of San Diego County.
The complaint alleges a variety of issues regarding Arguelles’ son, including the absence of proper safety checks at the juvenile hall, which may have saved the boy’s life, and the ability of detainees to buy/sell fentanyl inside the juvenile hall.
Attorneys say the boy’s health in general, as well as his prescription medications, were poorly maintained and poorly communicated to his mother.
No one responded to Arguelles’ multiple calls made to the facility about her son.