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News Release

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Media Relations

Juvenile Drug Use Ends in Death


Los Angeles: On Friday, June 27, 2003, at about 12:11 p.m., Van Nuys area patrol officers responded to a radio call in the 6100 block of Costello Avenue. Upon arrival, Officers found the victim, Jennifer Melendez, a female Hispanic and a 15 year-old resident of the Van Nuys area, suffering from convulsions caused by a possible drug overdose. Paramedics took Melendez to a local hospital and on Saturday, June 28, 2003, at 2:07 a.m., she was pronounced dead as a result of a cocaine overdose.

The 14 year-old male suspect, who gave the victim the cocaine and was with her while she ingested it, was taken into custody at the scene. He was initially booked for Cocaine Possession only, but was re-arrested and booked for Involuntary Manslaughter when Melendez died. He is being detained at Sylmar Juvenile Hall. Due to the fact that the suspect is a minor, his name will not be released.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Van Nuys Homicide Unit at 818-756-8370. On weekends and during off-hours, call the 24-hour toll free number at the Detective Information Desk, 1-877-LAWFULL, 1-877-3855.

This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Jack Richter, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.