Hundreds of people gathered for an emotional candlelight vigil in Jewett City on Thursday night to remember a teen who died in an apparent drug overdose.
Olivia Roark’s family has many questions about her death, but one thing is clear, many people cared about her.
The crowd stood around a gazebo at Veteran’s Memorial Park to honor 17-year-old Roark, who was taken far too soon in a manner that is becoming all too familiar in eastern Connecticut.
“She was the most compassionate little girl you'd ever want to meet. She thought of her friends before anybody else. That was her,” said her father Bob Roark.
His daughter died on Memorial Day weekend after suffering a heroin overdose in a Groton motel.
He said they days since Olivia’s death have been excruciating, but he’s fighting to make sure his daughter’s death was not in vain.
“I want to make sure that a man with 26 priors does not get back on the street to take an innocent life like he took our daughter,” Bob Roark said. “This addiction knows no boundaries of age race or creed.”
He said he won’t rest until Ramon Gomez, the man accused of giving his daughter heroin after taking her to the motel room allegedly to engage in prostitution, stays behind bars for good.
On Thursday, the family refused to dwell on Gomez.
Evan after the memorial lantern floated away, the Roarks left with beautiful memories they will have forever of their community honoring their daughter.
“I'm going to think about my daughter and the love that everybody has for her,” Bob Roark said.
Some who attended the vigil lost loved ones themselves to the drug epidemic. They were at the vigil to offer the Roarks emotional support.
Gomez allegedly waited four hours before calling 911. He’s being charged with possession of heroin with intent to distribute.
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