Police arrest man in connection with fatal fentanyl overdose of Whitman student


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Police arrested a 23-year-old man on Thursday in connection with the fatal overdose of Whitman sophomore Landen Hausman. Mikiyas Maryie Kefyalew is accused of selling Hausman counterfeit Percocet pills that later tested positive for fentanyl.

By Ethan Schenker

Montgomery County police arrested a 23-year-old man on Thursday in connection with the fatal overdose of 16-year-old Whitman student Landen Hausman in January.

Mikiyas Maryie Kefyalew of Piney Branch, Maryland, is accused of selling Hausman counterfeit Percocet pills that later tested positive for fentanyl, according to a police department press release

The Whitman sophomore was found dead in his home on Jan. 17 after ingesting the counterfeit pills. An autopsy report confirmed fentanyl intoxication as the cause of Hausman’s death, police wrote.

“This case is another tragic example of the harm that can occur with counterfeit pills containing Fentanyl,” Police Chief Marcus Jones wrote in a statement. “These pills add another deadly layer to the opiate crisis facing our communities. Individuals, including young people, take a drug they believe to have minimal harm, but end up taking a substance that is extremely deadly.” 

Police charged Kefyalew with one count of distribution of a narcotic, but may add additional charges as the investigation continues, according to the press release. 

Marc Hausman was cleaning out his son’s room when he found one of the remaining counterfeit Percocet pills, he told The Black & White. Nearly three months after turning the pill in to detectives, police informed him that they had issued a warrant for Kefyalew’s arrest.

“This is a person that is accused of selling dangerous narcotics to underage children, so if we can take him off the street, then maybe it prevents this from happening to someone else,” Hausman said. “One small blue pill killed Landen. You don’t know what you’re getting anymore and you end up dead on your bathroom floor.”

The 16-year-old struggled with anxiety and depression and spent time in rehab after turning to drugs and alcohol, his father said. Despite facing these ongoing challenges, Landen appeared to be making progress at the time of his death, he said.

“There really isn’t a sense of closure in any of this,” Hausman said. “My wife and I really want Landen’s life to have been meaningful. For us, the closure really comes from students at Whitman and other high schools telling us, ‘Wow, this really opened my eyes and I need to make smart decisions when it comes to these types of situations.’” 

Following Hausman’s death, Whitman administrators planned the school’s first-ever “IMPACT Week” to educate students on the consequences of drug use. During the week of April 3, students attended a general assembly with an addiction recovery speaker, listened to an informational presentation on the nationwide fentanyl crisis and visited a series of student-led exhibitions. 

“I would really emphasize to Whitman’s students that you have to recognize that these dangers are out there, they’re prevalent and they’re going to be there every day,” Hausman said. “You have to be thoughtful and you have to understand that making smart decisions is what keeps you safe, and that you’re the one that’s responsible for making those decisions.”