'I will never forget you': B.C. father gives tearful eulogy to teen who died of apparent overdose
A B.C. teen whose suspected overdose was shared on Snapchat was remembered in a celebration of life three weeks after the boy died of an apparent overdose.
The church where the 14-year-old was remembered holds more than 1,000 people, and it was full during the service. It was livestreamed with the family's permission so the community could mourn together.
Speaking to the crowd gathered inside, the pastor thanked those who'd come to the service on behalf of Carson's family, saying it is making a difference for them.
"There are times in life when 'Why?' cannot be answered. There simply isn't an answer to 'why,'" Mike Poulin said.
"It's in those times that we have to ask a better question, and that is 'How?' How are we going to get ahead? How are we going to go on?"
He led a prayer for strength for those struggling to cope with Carson's death.
'He wanted nothing more than to be a good friend'
Aron Crimeni, Carson's father, said his son was caring and giving, and "loved nothing more than to make people laugh," even at a young age.
He told stories about the times the boy made him laugh. Aron said his son used to quote a line from a TV show whenever they were in the elevator together.
Bursting into tears, he said, "It's because he knew it made me laugh every time. And it did."
He said they had a close relationship and talked about everything. Carson played basketball with his dad, loved dressing up at Halloween, and was an avid gamer.
They'd play side-by-side Friday and Saturday nights, taking breaks for Carson to bring his dad cups of tea.
He loved YouTube videos, and his father promised him recording equipment for Christmas if the boy kept his grades up.
Carson had recently started learning to play guitar, and often cooked for his dad.
He had a cat, but he also bugged his dad about getting a pug, and talked about wanting to be a vet when he grew up.
"He had a lot of interests. It's hard to think that one of them wouldn't have taken him somewhere one day," Aron said.
For his 14th birthday, they went to the mall and Carson picked out a Bob Ross backpack, Aron recalled, laughing and crying at the same time.
"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 time that I heard him say a negative, bad or down word about anybody, ever."
Carson spent a lot of time with his aunts and grandparents, and Aron said he's the reason their family is so tight-knit.
"I just want to say to my son, 'Thank you for being my best friend, and my closest friend. And I love you. I will never forget you and I will always have you in my heart,'" he said, crying as he held his fist to his mouth.
Carson's death a lesson, sister says
Carson's sister Bella addressed the crowd gathered for her brother Thursday, saying it hurts her to think of the pain he was in during his final hours.
She described her brother as sweet and caring, and said he was "just trying to fit in and have friends who loved him."
Bella said she's hopeful that his death will make other teens realize the implications of drug use.
"It could take anyone away in a heartbeat," she said, wiping away a tear.
To her brother, she said, "I hope you can see how many people are here today that love and care for you."
She reminded him of good times they'd had – bending the rules at a waterpark, tubing down the river, sending funny text messages.
The last time she saw her brother, Carson had left his friends to meet up with her, and covered the cost of her frozen yogurt. They talked about how they needed to see each other more, she said.
"If you can hear me, Carson, I love you, and you will forever be in my heart. Rest in peace."
Carson's mother, Chantell, said she loved her son "very much," and had a similar message.
"I feel that there's a real need for change to happen in this world so that this doesn't happen again to some other child, or anybody for that matter," she said.
School remembers kind-hearted friend
Carson has been described as a kind-hearted friend who would go out of his way to help others. He would have started Grade 9 next week at Walnut Grove Secondary School.
One of the vice-principals of the school spoke at his funeral Thursday, describing the boy as endearingly loud.
"Carson had a presence in our building," Lisa Marie Fraser said.
"His energy, volume and jokes would always indicate his whereabouts, something we grew to love about him, and something I depended on when I needed to locate him."
Fraser said he was goofy and cheeky, but also creative, smart, spirited and mischievous.
She read stories highlighting his personality, including times when his teachers had to fight to keep a straight face during meetings with the boy who'd try to make them laugh.
"He always saw it as a challenge… I do respect and admire your determination," she said.
Fraser also told a story about Carson's birthday. He'd been having a difficult week, so she gathered a cake, cards and a Subway gift card.
When they celebrated with him, he said it wasn't his birthday. Reluctantly, he took the gift anyway, and came back the next day to say thanks and let them know what he'd bought.
"That was Carson's heart… In my time in education, it is special when a student takes the time to say thank you, to show appreciation. Carson's character is a testament to the love, the support and the guidance received from his family," she said in a message directed to them.
The district says it will offer counselling and other supports to student and staff impacted by his death.
Investigation into Carson's death
Carson was found near a skateboard park in Langley on Aug. 7. He was rushed to hospital but did not survive.
"He was a beautiful boy," his grandfather said last week. "He didn't deserve this."
Carson's death raised questions after video surfaced on social media showing the boy in his final hours.
His father issued an emotional plea to witnesses who've yet to speak with police, believing the teen was given drugs by older boys. He believes those boys then recorded Carson as he twitched, appearing to be increasingly in distress, then left him to be found later by a group that called 911.
Carson's death is also the subject of an investigation led by B.C.'s police watchdog.
The Independent Investigations Office is looking into what happened that night, after the RCMP received a call about a boy in distress.
Mounties were contacted around 8 p.m. that night by someone who'd seen a photo posted on Snapchat and was concerned for his wellbeing.
Two officers went to an area around a skateboard park in the Walnut Grove neighbourhood, but left when they saw no sign of the boy.
Carson was found about two hours later near the park.
The IIO said so far there's been no allegation of any wrongdoing, but that the office will be looking into the actions of police and measuring them against what might be considered "reasonable."
Harm reduction, and how to talk to your kids
The death highlighted a need for harm reduction initiatives and further education, a recovered addict told CTV News a week after it happened.
Guy Felicella said young people are often educated through content they find online, which often isn't true.
He added that Carson's death is an indicator of the toxic drug supply circulating the region. The further out a suburb is from a major city, the less likely it is to have harm reduction services that focus on reducing the risk.
Felicella also had tips for how parents should talk to their kids about drugs. He suggested avoiding pointed questions and choosing instead to have general conversations, as a way of assessing a child's knowledge and experience.
There have been no charges in the case, and the RCMP is still looking for witnesses to come forward. Tips can be left anonymously through Crime Stoppers, or directly with the RCMP at 604-532-3398.
The IIO is also looking to speak to anyone who saw the responding officers in the area that night. Witnesses are asked to call 1-855-446-8477.