LANGLEY, B.C. — The family of a 14-year-old British Columbia boy whose apparent overdose death was filmed and posted on social media delivered a powerful call for change at his funeral on Thursday.
Carson Crimeni’s family believes the drugs were given to him by others who wanted to share his reaction on the internet, and the case is being investigated by RCMP and B.C.’s police watchdog, the Independent Investigations Office.
“I loved my son. I loved him very, very much,” his mother, Chantell Griffiths, told a crowd of hundreds gathered in a church in Langley, B.C.
“I feel that there’s a real need for change to happen in our world so this doesn’t happen again to any other child, or anybody for that matter.”
Family and friends who spoke at the funeral remembered the teenager as a funny, energetic boy who loved to cook, play video games and joke with his buddies. But they also urged mourners to take action against peer pressure and teenage drug use so his death would not be in vain.
Bella Griffiths said her brother was a sweet, caring and loving boy whose tragic death was caused by “heartless” people. It hurts her to think of the pain he felt in the hours before he died on Aug. 7, she said.
“At only 14 years old, his life was taken, and he was just trying to fit in. All he ever wanted to do was fit in and have friends who loved him,” she said.
“I really hope after this, people really start to realize that drugs are not a joke. They can take anyone away in a heartbeat.”
She recalled fond memories with her brother, including trips to a water park every summer. Griffiths said she would go down a slide first and stop herself, so that when he arrived behind her, they could go down the slide together even though it was against the rules.
“We got in trouble one time,” she said with a slight smile through tears.
The teen’s father, Aron Crimeni, said his son loved nothing more than making people laugh, even from an early age. He remembered how, as a two-year-old, the little boy tricked him into thinking he had accidentally slammed a refrigerator door shut on his son’s hand.
It turned out he was hiding his hand in a space next to the door, and the toddler laughed and pointed at him, Crimeni recalled.
As the boy grew older, his “main love” and pastime became playing video games, his father said. He also wanted to start a YouTube channel, and the elder Crimeni remembered how he promised his son that if he kept his grades up this fall, he’d buy him recording equipment for Christmas.
His son loved animals, especially his cat Coco, and dreamed of being a veterinarian, his dad added. He was also a devoted chef who would drag his father away from the frozen aisle so he could cook up something fresh, he remembered.
He added that the boy also loved to swim and play hockey.
“He wanted nothing more than to be a good friend to people and to have that friendship returned. In his entire 14 years, I can’t think of a single time I heard him say a negative, bad or down word about anybody, ever,” Crimeni said, his voice breaking.
“I just want to say to my son: Thank you for being my best friend.”
The Independent Investigations Office has said RCMP were contacted at about 8 p.m. on the night Crimeni died by someone who had seen a Snapchat photo of him and was concerned about his welfare.