Stefan DeClerk, 17, a Cranbrook junior who was discovered dead in his dorm room on Wednesday, June 7, after missing his last final exam, died after a drug overdose from a lethal mixture of two different forms of fentanyl, cocaine, methadone and marijuana, along with antidepressants, No-Doz and barbituates, according to a toxicology report obtained from the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s office.
Bloomfield Hills Police Chief Noel Clason said the death has been classified as an accidental drug overdose. He said it was determined through a juvenile death panel that there was no foul play, and it was not a suicide, based on the medical examiner’s report, toxicology, and witness statements.
DeClerk, of California, was a resident in the school’s Coulter dormitory, and was believed to have been preparing for his last final exam when he was last checked on by a faculty member around 11 p.m the night before, when he conducted roll call of the dorm. The faculty member told police that he saw DeClerk at that time and he seemed fine.
A friend of DeClerk’s stated that at 11:55 that night he received a Snapchat message from DeClerk with a video of him inhaling an unknown substance, which he referred to as “natural salts.” Another friend stated that later that night he received a Snapchat text which said, “It was nothing, I’ll be fine. I love you.”
When DeClerk did not show up for his 8 a.m exam, the teacher told officers she went to get him from his room. She said she knocked on his door, but no one answered. Another student came out and offered to unlock his door, and the teacher said that once in the room, she observed DeClerk lying face up on his bed, and he was cold and his body was stiff. When she couldn’t wake him, she had the student call police and she went to get a nurse.
According to reports, Bloomfield Hills officers were called to the dormitory at 9 a.m. June 7, where they found DeClerk on the floor of his room and a Cranbrook security officer and a school registered nurse providing CPR. Officers took over CPR until EMS arrived.
Officers said they observed a container with a white powder substance along with drug paraphernalia.
Autopsy and blood toxicology determined that DeClerk did indeed die of a drug overdose. Oakland County Deputy Medical Examiner Ruben Ortiz-Reyes, MD, wrote that the pathological diagnosis was drug abuse from fentanyl, 4-ANPP (a synthetic opioid), several antidepressants, marijuana, along with pulmonary edema (fluid accumulation in the lungs). Toxicology also indicated he had cocaine, No-Doz, and methadone detected in his blood.
Fentanyl is an opioid pain medication which is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. 4-ANPP is a synthetic fentanyl. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, fentanyl is illicitly manufactured and used as a recreational drug, often disguised as other pharmaceutical drugs or mixed with heroin, and has lead to thousands of overdose deaths from 2000 to 2017.
“Stefan DeClerk, a 17-year-old white teenage male, died of drug abuse. There was paraphernalia close by where the body was found,” Ortiz-Reyes wrote.
“The entire Cranbrook Schools community was deeply saddened by the loss of one of our own last spring, and the recent conclusion of the investigation is a heartbreaking reminder of his tragic passing and of how much he is truly missed,” Clayton Matthews, Cranbrook Schools spokesperson said.