Teen's mom demands drug investigation

July 24, 2009 7:32:42 PM PDT
The death of an Orinda teenager at a party in May is still generating questions about the hard-to-find drug found in his system. It's a drug that pharmacists say they haven't seen in decades.

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So the young man's mother is appealing to authorities to investigate her son's death as a possible murder.

In a moving letter to the Contra Costa County District Attorney, Joe Loudon's mother, Marianne Payne writes that the investigation into her son's death is shockingly passive.

She says it's disturbing that police will not consider the possibility that her son was drugged.

Autopsy results show that 16-year-old Joseph Loudon died on May 23 after consuming only a small amount of alcohol and a substantial amount of a prescription medication called Papaverine, a vaso-dilator that has similarities to Viagra.

"It's been at least 25 years since I've seen this," said Orinda pharmacist Alan Wong.

Wong says the drug is so old, that a computer search repeatedly lists it as obsolete.

"This drug is so old I'd be surprised if any pharmacy in the area actually carries this," he said.

"Someone gave Joseph Loudon a prescription drug that contributed to his death. If that's true, that's manslaughter. Finding that one credible person who witnessed that, well, for the DA, that may prove to be an impossible task," said ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson.

The Orinda Police Department declined to comment on their investigation, and the District Attorney's office did not respond to the letter.

Loudon's mother claims her son's iPhone disappeared the night of his death, but says her cell phone bill indicates that there was significant use of his phone while he was dying and even after his death. She believes someone may have ben trying to erase evidence, but says police never investigated it.

Her letter ends with her saying: '"very serious crimes were committed. This is not a case where kids will be kids."

Police have arrested three men in connection with the case, ranging from 16 to 22 years old.

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