May 1, 2021
TO THE EDITOR:
On December 17, 2020 I found my beloved younger brother, Frank Pane, dead in his car, not even a block away behind the hospital. The toxicity report stated that he died from toxic levels of fentanyl.
We suspect that he actually died on the 15th, which means that for two days he was left in the passenger seat of his car, like he was nothing. Like he was nobody's son, brother, boyfriend, or friend. He was all of these things and more. And someone just abandoned him.
Frank was a one of a kind person, with a unique sense of humor that was all his own. He loved animals, cooking out, and shooting his guns. He worked with me for 15 years, 5 days a week. Then he was just...gone. No goodbyes. No final 'I love you'. The 9 mile drive to work every morning is now the longest, loneliest ride I could have imagined. Not a single day has gone by that I haven't cried, and the same can be said for my heartbroken mom. I relive finding him every day, over and over. I have nightmares.
I have no delusions about the fact that no one made him take the path he chose, or any idea why he chose it. I do know that he wanted off of it, but the pull of drugs was too strong for him. I know police view him as just another junkie, as I'm sure some of you will. I ask you to be careful with your judgement; there are a lot of 'I never thought in a million years that my kid would touch that stuff' parents' out there. We all make bad choices and not all of us recover from them.
I have so much I want to say about my brother, but there's not enough room in this paper for it. What I want is some kind of justice for him, the ones before him and the ones after him. It seems like almost daily someone overdoses on Carteret County. There is simply NO way that there are no leads on the dealers, or a reason why when one is caught that they are right back on the streets selling their products. The position that arresting the dealers won't help the addicts is pure BS. At the very least it gives the streets one less dealer to hook someone new on their poisons.
For two months I left the police alone because I kept hearing that they can't do anything until the toxicity report comes back. Now that it's back they won't return my calls. I have zero respect for someone who can't at least tell me they still have no leads. My one small hope is that they are building a case against the individual(s) responsible. But the realist in me doubts that is the case and that in the end my family will have to live with so many unanswered questions. I, and the police, know who Frank was getting his drugs from right up to the time of his death. In my heart I know his friend knows more than he is telling us. As far as the dealer goes? I pray that Lord, justice will be seen in this paper one day, and I hope it's in the obituary section.
For anyone who has a loved one involved with drugs, I wish you the best. It's an uphill, emotionally draining battle to say the least. Be strong, and be kind because if you lose them, it's the times you lost your temper that haunts you the most.
To the rest of you, if you can't help them, you can at least have the decency to not laugh at them and treat them like the flawed, loved human beings that we all are.