Five years ago, Courtney and Brian Halye got married.
According to People, the pair each had two children from previous relationships — Brian had two girls and Courtney, a boy and a girl. The youngest was nine and the oldest was 13.
Two-and-a-half months ago, on March 16, their four children woke up to learn they were late for school.
The confused kids couldn't figure out why their parents never woke them up, so the boy went looking for them. What he found was something no child should ever have to witness.
According to earlier reports, Brian, a pilot for Spirit Airlines, and Courtney were dead in their room. The son called 911 to tell the authorities that his parents weren't breathing. He described them as “very cold.” As NBC reported, his three sisters could be heard crying in the background.
The sisters described their father as “pale and there was black lines all over his face.”
Drug paraphernalia was found in the Halye's home, and Centerville Police Department spokesman John Davis told the media that the authorities believed their death was the result of an accidental drug overdose, likely heroin or fentanyl.
According to People, the results from the toxicology report now reveal that Courtney and Brian died as the result of a fatal combination of cocaine and carfentanil, a tranquilizer used on large mammals such as elephants and rhinos.
Recovery First described just how powerful carfentanil is:
Carfentanil is a powerful derivative of fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic analgesic produced from morphine. While fentanyl is about 100 times more powerful than morphine, carfentanil is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, meaning it is 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
This drug is not approved for use in humans in any capacity, and it is typically found in veterinary medicine to sedate large animals, primarily elephants. In fact, the drug is so powerful that when veterinarians handle carfentanil, they use protective gear so they don’t breathe it in or absorb it through their skin.
According to the medical examiners, it is not known if the Halyes were aware that the cocaine they were injecting themselves with was laced with carfentanil.
Their deaths have been ruled an accident.
Courtney's friend, Monica Camacho, was aware that Courtney had had substance abuse issues in the past:
“They had issues, especially Courtney. She had struggled with substance abuse.”
But she didn't know how big of an issue it was:
“I knew that they had their issues, but I honestly thought that she had things under control. This is so shocking to everyone.”
Courtney's mother, Nancy Casey, was also attuned to her daughter's issues. In January, according to People, Casey had called the local police department alleging that her daughter was abusing drugs and potentially suicidal.
And after talking to Courtney and Brian hours before their death, she knew something was wrong:
“I had this dreadful feeling all day. Something was off with her and something was off with him.”
Casey told NBC News that despite the way they died, drugs weren't a constant problem in their life:
“I don't know if they decided they were going to party, or went and they got a hold of this bad stuff going around town.”
She hopes that her daughter won't be remembered as an “addict” or a “low-life.”
According to People, the four children have been placed in the custody of relatives.