Family still seeking answers after 13-year-old overdose
XENIA, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - A day after the funeral of Nathan Wylie, his aunt told FOX 45's Shavon Anderson she made him a promise on his death bed that she intends to keep.
On the living room table of Penny Bilbrey's home sits a picture of two young boys. One is now living within the frame of a memory.
"We carry a ton of guilt," she said.
Bilbrey hadn't seen her nephew Nathan in years. Their short reunion was at the hospital, as Nathan was taking his last breaths through a ventilator.
"I stroked his hair, I rubbed his arms, and I told him how sorry I was," she said.
Police said Nathan got into his dad's drug stash and overdosed back in March. Robert Wylie, Penny's brother, hasn't been charged in Nathan's death, but he's in jail on previous drug warrants.
"People were judging us, wanting to know where were we at," she said. "We didn't know where they were at, we had no clue."
When addiction consumed her brother, she said they lost contact.
"What, to stop our lives and walk the streets to search for them?" she said. "There's no way."
She wondered why Children's Services never stepped in to take custody of Nathan, and his 12-year-old brother Andrew. Andrew is currently with other family, but isn't enrolled in school because he doesn't have a birth certificate. Bilbrey is working to get him enrolled, and get him resources to cope with Nathan's death.
"Intense therapy, counseling, grieving," she said. "He needs to grieve. He's angry."
Her focus now is to get Andrew to a good place, and also establishing 'Nathan's Place.'
"It's going to be for children to come that have this heroin in common," Bilbrey said. "How sad is that."
She called it a triumph after tragedy, and as the epidemic continues, she promised to fight for kids across the Miami Valley.
"I am Nathan's voice. I am not going away."
Kevin Lavoie, the Communications Coordinator with the Montgomery County Children's Services, sent us this statement:
"Montgomery County Children Services did have an open investigation with the family, and in the wake of this tragedy, we immediately took action to ensure the safety of Nathan Wylie's sibling."