COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The five people found dead in an apartment Sunday afternoon from suspected fentanyl overdoses have been identified.
The coroner identified them Tuesday as:
- Sabas Daniel Marquez, 24
- Humberto Arroy-Ledezma, 32
- Karina Joy Rodriquez, 28
- Stephine Sonya Monroe, 29
- Jennifer Danielle Cunningham, 32
Commerce City Police Department said around 3:45 p.m. on Sunday, emergency personnel responded to an apartment at the North Range Crossings Apartments on East 104th Avenue on a report of several people who were unconscious. It's unclear who made the call to police.
When first responders arrived, they found three women and two men dead inside the apartment, police said.
A 29-year-old woman and a 4-month old infant who were also inside the apartment were taken to the hospital. Police said the infant underwent a checkup and is doing fine. The woman talked to officers and is receiving medical care, police said.
"I hope the parents were not in there, but I've been doing this long enough. I would probably be safe to suggest that the parents probably were inside," Police Chief Clint Nichols said Sunday night. "And so for the infant -- that's going to be a long time without parents."
Nichols said Monday that the baby's mother was one of the people who died. It's unclear if the baby's father was among the victims.
Nichols said Sunday night there were unknown substances "that could be described as illicit narcotics" inside the apartment. Police said Monday that they recovered narcotics "that had a presumptive positive test for the presence of fentanyl."
Nichols said firefighters tested the apartment for hazardous gas, and that test came back negative.
District Attorney Brian Mason said Monday that the deaths were fentanyl overdoses, and the victims likely thought they were inhaling something else, possibly cocaine.
"In addition to investigating the scene, Commerce City Police Department detectives are aggressively pursuing leads on where the narcotics were obtained and will vigorously pursue charges for those who sold/provided the drugs," police said in a news release Monday.
Colorado does not currently have a law allowing prosecutors to charge drug dealers with distribution of fentanyl causing death. But given the growing fentanyl crisis in the state, Mason said a law like that might be necessary.
"We have to improve our laws on fentanyl. We have to increase the penalties for distributing fentanyl," Mason said. "It is dangerous, it is lethal and it is fast. And it is ravaging our community."
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, there were 49 fentanyl overdose deaths in Colorado in 2016. In 2021, there were 803 deaths, and that data is not final. In addition, the Drug Enforcement Administration's (DEA) Denver division has seized about 800,000 fentanyl pills in the past five months alone, 10 times more than the 80,000 seized in 2019.
"Staggering, and it's not slowing down," said David Olesky, the acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA's Denver division. "Fentanyl is a huge problem."
WATCH: Fentanyl responsible for half of Colorado overdose deaths in 2021
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