KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Family and friends gathered Friday evening for a candlelight vigil to honor Ethan Everly, an Oak Park High School sophomore who died after taking a pill laced with fentanyl.
“I think we know it’s out there, I don’t think we realize how close it is to home. It's lethal, it's real," said Brent Everly, Ethan's uncle.
Those who attended the vigil at Oak Grove Park in Gladstone wore red to honor Ethan.
“Accept how this feels, this is hopeless, this is what hopeless feels like, but our family's not hopeless. None of this is hopeless, we don’t want his death to be in vain," Brent Everly said.
KSHB 41 News spoke with Ethan's father who remembers him as a courageous boy and leader in his friend group.
“He was a leader in our friend group, he always pushed us to do better," said Jayden Taylor, a friend of Ethan. "He wanted us to succeed [and] do good in life. We got really close about cars, he was a car guy, he just got him a Mustang before he passed away."
Everly's teachers said he had an incredible, charming smile with a sense of humor that could brighten anyone's day.
“[He was ] very cheerful, happy, loving and the last time I gave him a ride back home, it was just Ethan and I talking his plans for the future," said Patricia Ramirez, a family friend. "I’m going to go to school, I'm going to get my career, I'm going to do this and you could hear it."
Gladstone police have asked the Clay County Sheriff's Office to take over the investigation of Ethan's death.
Authorities previously said they are trying to find the dealer along with anyone higher up the ladder.