Teen charged with murder in West St. Paul 15-year-old’s overdose death

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A Bloomington teen has been charged with murder in connection with the death of a 15-year-old West St. Paul girl who had a fatal dose of fentanyl, authorities said Friday.

Parker Jay Benson, 17, was charged with one count of murder in the third degree

The charge is for people who sell, give or distribute a schedule 1 or 2 controlled substance.

According to the charges, at 12:48 a.m. on April 20, West St. Paul police officers were called to a residence on a report of a teenage girl who was unconscious and not breathing.

When they arrived, officers found the girl’s mother “attempting lifesaving resuscitation efforts.”

The girl was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The Ramsey County medical examiner’s office determined her cause of death to be “Fentanyl Toxicity”.

During the investigation, the girl’s mother told police that the family had gone to bed about 11 p.m. April 19. The mother woke later and noticed a light coming from her daughter’s bedroom. The mom went into the bedroom and found her daughter lying face down on her bed with a blue pill box next to her.

When she rolled her daughter over, she saw the girl’s face was blue. She called 911 and started CPR.

The following details about the death were given in a news release by the West St. Paul police department:

Investigators searching the girl’s phone found an April 16 SnapChat conversation between the girl and a man named “Parker” who was later identified as Benson.

The girl asked him, “do you come to west st. Paul.”

The next day, Benson replied, “yes watcha need.”

The next day, April 19, the conversation continued with a discussion of perks and price, with arrangements for Benson to sell the girl four pills for $60. The two discussed a meeting place, and at 9:06 a.m. Benson sent a message saying, “pulling up.”

The girl confirmed her location and said, ‘thanks bro next time I’ll buy more.”

About 9:50 p.m. Benson messaged the girl and said, “only take like less than a quarter of it.”

Several hours later, at 2:03 a.m., he sent a message asking, “they hitting?”

There was no response.

A motion was also filed to certify Benson as an adult, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. At this time, a hearing has not been scheduled.

“Fentanyl poisoning is a serious and significant problem,” said Dakota County Attorney Kathy Keena. “Illicit fentanyl is now the number one cause of death among Americans ages 18-45. … Sadly, we’ve lost another child to this extremely deadly drug.”

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