Justice For Henry: A Mother's FightMonica Bielanko
“Henry’s overdosed on drugs and it doesn’t look good. He’s at the hospital.”
The phone call no mother ever wants to receive. It happened to Katie Allison Granju on April 27, 2010
He did not want to die. 38 days later he was dead.
Henry Granju died on May 31, 2010. He was only 18-years old.
Here are the facts surrounding his death, as told by his mama, Babble’s own Katie Allison Granju.
- Henry was addicted to drugs.
- His drug problem led to involvement with several (much older) drug dealing adults who refused to call 911 for hours and hours as the teen lay dying from a fatal brain injury related to the drug overdose.
- Tennessee law and federal statute define death resulting from the distribution of illegal drugs as homicide.
- Henry was badly beaten in the hours before his overdose. The injuries make it clear that he was the victim of a serious assault, and the assault should be treated as a crime, and investigated as a crime.
- Local authorities have yet to conduct a full, professional criminal investigation into the circumstances of Henry’s death.
- The adults that gave Henry drugs and later refused to call 911 for hours as he lay dying in their home have not been arrested.
- As Strollerderby has previously reported, Katie Granju is now waging a public battle to get local authorities to properly investigate Henry’s death.
Last night Katie appeared on “Issues with Jane Velez-Mitchell” to discuss Henry’s case and reveal shocking emails written by the Knoxville assistant district attorney that she obtained. More on that later.
First, what happened to Henry in the hours before his death? After poring over texts, talking to Henry’s friends and looking at Henry’s cell phone records, Katie Granju has pieced together a timeline of what she believes happened to her firstborn son.
Henry received a large amount of methadone on April 26th from alleged drug dealers and took a possibly fatal amount. He was later seen getting into a van with two much older alleged drug dealers. The next day Henry was found beaten, unconscious and nearly dead.
In my son`s case, his text messages indicate that they actually hand delivered a large dose of methadone to my son midday on April 26th. We have a lot of corroborating evidence of that. Henry was so concerned that he had taken too much that he and two friends of his, two University of Tennessee College students got online to look to see if this 80 mg of methadone was excessive and in fact, what they found is that that could be a fatal dose.
As Katie told Velez-Mitchell last night, “several people saw him get into a van on the evening of April 26th with two much older drug dealing adults. He had no visible injuries whatsoever. Fifteen hours later my teenage son was found blue, unconscious, bleeding from both ears, two black eyes, extensive bruising two his chest and also suffering from a major drug overdose that had been exacerbated by a refusal to call 911 over many hours.”
Neither the Knox County Sheriff’s Department or the local police department has ever conducted a full, proper investigation into the assault despite the obvious physical signs of Henry being beaten as well as an ER doctor initially telling the Granjus that Henry suffered from an overdose and a severe beating.
Why does the beating matter when Henry ultimately died of brain Hypoxia, a result of the drug overdose? “…a teenage boy is found unconscious, bleeding, bruised and suffering from a drug overdose inside the private residence of two sketchy adults who can’t reasonably explain how he ended up this way”, says Katie. That’s why. A teen is assaulted and no one investigates? As Katie herself says, “If they had found a teenage boy who had NOT overdosed, but who was unconscious and bleeding and bruised inside the home of two unrelated adults, wouldn’t law enforcement have been called to the scene immediately?”
Why don’t we care about the circumstances surrounding the death of a drug overdose victim if the evidence – in almost every way – points to neglect and you have a law on the books that says death resulting from the distribution of illegal drugs is defined as homicide?
Furthermore, those emails from the Knox County Assistant District Attorney I previously mentioned have made Henry’s grieving mother, Katie, a mother seeking justice for her son, a victim as well.
“Someone should tell Ms. Katie to shut up. She has blogged a not-so-veiled threat after our meeting. Someone should tell her to focus on the remaining children she still has at home.”
The assistant DA who sent the email also speculates that maybe Henry Granju “didn’t care if he died”. She also wrote that the kid had serious mental health issues apart from his drug addiction and criticized Henry’s family for investigating the circumstances surrounding Henry’s death saying “They are really traveling down the wrong road. I can’t imagine their son would want them to go through that.”
A teenager dies under suspicious circumstances and some dingbat DA wonders why a mother wants to know how her boy ended up with blood running out of his ears, two black eyes, bruising and scrapes on his chest not to mention the traumatic brain injury? The teen lay dying for hours, hours during which a simple anonymous call to 911 could’ve saved his life and yet nothing was done.
Katie’s appearance on Headline News last night was stellar. She was calm, composed, articulate and, above all, a courageous mama fighting for justice for her son.
Her only goal:
“I believe that the people who gave my son an overdose beat him inside their house and left him to die over many, many hours and should be prosecuted for homicide by controlled substance, which, in Tennessee law is second-degree homicide and in federal laws under the Len Bias law.”
As I write this I listen to the squeaks and grunts of my own Henry, conceived the week Henry Granju died. I spent much of my pregnancy reading about Henry Granju and simply cannot fathom the pain that Katie carries with her everywhere she goes. Not only did she lose her son, but she’s been victimized and forced to wage a war to get law enforcement to do their job and ENFORCE THE LAWS ON THE BOOKS.
Overdose victims should be treated with the same respect and dignity that anyone else would receive were they so obviously assaulted – whether they’re addicted to drugs or not. Last time I checked, addiction was a disease. So do your job, Knoxville investigators! Find out what happened to Henry Granju and who is responsible.
Katie is still actively seeking media coverage of Henry’s case, so if you are a blog reader who can connect her with a specific reporter, editor, TV show or radio program, please email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read Justice For Henry on Katie’s blog click here.
Click here to read Henry’s Body, the most heartbreaking thing a mom could ever write.
And you can watch Henry’s Story below: