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Mother wants justice for 11-year-old Clay County boy who died of drug overdose

According to the investigative report, the sheriff’s office closed the death investigation with no findings of criminal conduct by Rylan Wise's father.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — A mother’s fight for justice isn’t over despite the Clay County Sheriff’s Office closing the investigation into the death of her 11-year-old son.

Found 12 to 24 hours after a drug overdose, the medical examiner ruled Rylan Wise’s death a suicide due to the amount of Methadone in his system and his history of suicidal threats and depression.

However, the recently released facts of the case has Rylan Wise’s mother, Madeline Wise in disbelief that no one was held accountable. She believes Rylan was neglected in his father’s home.

“It just doesn't make any sense at all. No sense," She explained. “I do not understand how these people have not been charged."

It’s unclear how Rylan ended up with Methadone, a pharmaceutical drug to treat Opioid addiction. However, the investigative report says that Rylan could have taken them from his father Larry Wise’s room or vehicle because the investigation revealed: “Larry was in possession of methadone pills.”

Investigators say they also found “several items of drug paraphernalia” in Larry's bedroom and bathroom the day of his death.

“He wouldn't have ever had access to it, if it wasn't bought and brought into that home," Madeline explained. "And if they would have checked on him, when it says in there a couple of times that he was snoring, and gotten him the help that he needed –  he'd still be here. And that's neglect 100%.”

According to the report, the sheriff’s office closed the investigation with no findings of criminal conduct by Rylan’s father.

First Coast News Crime and Safety Expert Mark Baughman thinks child endangerment could be argued if Larry Wise didn’t properly secure the Methadone pills from his son.

“And then it results in an overdose death. And it's tragic, really, really tragic," Baughman said. "Is there a charge there potentially with that? I would think so. Maybe the state will go back and look at that, I don't know. But as far as all the other things leading up to it, unfortunately, there isn't a criminal charge for poor parenting.”

Madeline Wise has three more children with Larry Wise. She is currently working through the court system to terminate his parental rights.

“One of my main goals right now is to get them completely safe, and justice for Rylan, obviously," Madeline said. "But right now, they're here. And they're teeter-tottering with the idea of letting him see them again. And I just can't imagine that.”

Larry Wise was arrested on unrelated charges Monday night and has since bonded out. First Coast News reached out to him for comment Thursday but has not heard back.

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, First Coast News has reported the number of children who experienced mental health issues was increasing. In fact, Concetta Hillman with Clay County Behavioral Health says her mental health outpatient services department has had to double their children groups in order to accommodate everyone in need of services.

She shared some advice on how to start that conversation with your child.

"Sometimes parents can just see things as maybe it's a normal part of development. And this is the teenage years. I remember going through that," Hillman explained. "And the thing is it can be that, but it could also not be that. So, one of the most important things that can be done is to ask the difficult questions if they're having a hard day."

Help is available if you, or anyone you know, may need help with a feeling of hopelessness or with mental health concerns. 

You can the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 at 800-273-TALK or text HOME to 7-4-1-7-4-1 to chat live with a trained crisis counselor.