‘I owe the world to them.’ KS dad grateful to cops after sentencing in daughter’s death

A Grandview man has been sentenced to greater than 11 years in jail for the 2021 fentanyl death of Olivia Piotrowski, a Shawnee Mission East senior.

Cameron B. Bryant, 28, was sentenced this week to 140 months in Olivia’s death. He pleaded responsible in late March to distribution of a managed substance inflicting death.

Andrew Piotrowski, who attended almost each courtroom listening to Bryant had, informed The Star Thursday that he and his household are eternally grateful to the cops who investigated his daughter’s death, in addition to the prosecutors who dealt with her case.

As his voice broke when he talked about his daughter, who was 18 when she died, he mentioned he didn’t doubted the willpower of the Kansas City Police Department — together with Det. Frank Rorabaugh and Det. Jeremy Gragg — and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Even although he’s come to notice in the previous almost three years how troublesome fentanyl-related deaths are to examine and prosecute.

“I think from the beginning, they were going to do everything within their legal powers to find some sort of justice,” Piotrowski, of Johnson County, mentioned. “I mean, when they couldn’t find him (Bryant) the DEA ended up adding more US Marshals to help. They were doing what they needed to do to get this guy.”

And investigators with the Kansas City Police Department, led by Sgt. Aaron Benson, labored to be sure that prosecutors had a stable case to current in courtroom, Piotrowski mentioned. Olivia died in Kansas City and the capsule that killed her was bought in Olathe.

“For the Piotrowskis, we owe a lot of gratitude to everyone that was part of that,” he mentioned. “They could easily just gave up (the) cold case, and be like, ‘eh, we can’t do anything, we’re done.’ DEA could have. The officer could have been like, ‘I’m not going down this road anymore.’

“But they did this for Olivia and for her family.”

The Star wrote about Olivia’s death in last year’s series, “Deadly Dose,” which detailed the toll fentanyl has taken in latest years on the Kansas City space. The Star discovered that greater than 850 folks in the nine-county space have died from the illicit drug since 2018 and that these deaths can be difficult to investigate with only a fraction offered to a prosecutor for costs.

In mid-September 2021, Olivia died after she smoked a capsule that she and two pals thought was Percocet. Each of the women purchased a capsule for $30 apiece.

At their respective properties, they logged onto their college laptops and related via a web-based video chat program. They smoked the drugs.

According to courtroom data, Olivia started to rock backwards and forwards and her pals sensed she wasn’t feeling nicely. One of them informed her to attempt to vomit.

The subsequent morning, Olivia was discovered useless.

It wasn’t till June of final yr that Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe’s office charged Bryant who offered the capsule that killed Olivia.

“We’re losing way too many people to this horrible drug, especially a large number of teenagers and young adults,” Howe informed The Star Thursday. “When her case occurred, fentanyl was still on the rise, and I do truly think that the kids were thinking they were getting Percocet.”

Fentanyl deaths are very troublesome instances for legislation enforcement, Howe mentioned.

“You’ve got instances where there are multiple drugs being ingested by some users, which then makes it difficult for the medical examiner to say that fentanyl is the sole cause of death,” Howe mentioned. “So that’s a problem. “

The other impediment, he said, is being able to access phones which can tell investigators who the person purchased the illicit drug from.

“Many times the investigation is just short circuited because you can’t prove who gave the drugs on a certain date, time that caused the death,” he mentioned. “These are difficult, but, they’re important in light of the scope of the fentanyl problem in our community.”

Olivia was a “beautiful red-headed girl,” her father mentioned. “She had aspirations of being a model.”

She liked the seashore, he informed The Star, and being a “great big sister” to her brother, Axel. She additionally loved being round household and pals and was there for them in attempting instances, he mentioned.

“She was just a great person,” Olivia’s father mentioned. “She was always joking around. There isn’t a darn person that was ever around her that she couldn’t make laugh.

“She was one of those kids full of life. She had a lot of future.”

Around Easter of this yr, Piotrowski and his household took a visit to the seashore the place they all the time really feel shut to Olivia. During that point interval, there was a courtroom listening to the place Bryant was going to enter his responsible plea. And Piotrowski was going to miss it.

But he felt that somebody wanted to be there for Olivia.

“And Sgt. Benson went to court for me,” Piotrowski mentioned. “He said, ‘I will be there for you and represent Olivia.’ He didn’t have to do that.”

It’s why, Piotrowski mentioned, he’s so grateful for individuals who fought for his daughter.

“I owe the world to them.”

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