Clay Community hosts vigil for 11-year-old who died by methadone overdose

Clay County, Fla. — The Clay County Sheriff’s Office is taking a closer look at the circumstances surrounding the death of an 11-year-old boy.

Rylan’s death has sparked community support for the mother and Rylan’s siblings. A Facebook page, “Justice for Rylan Wise” was created, and on Monday there will be a vigil to honor him.

Action News Jax reporter, Meghan Moriarty, spoke with Wise’s mother on Thursday.

“Right after he passed, one of his friends told me he said ‘Rylan is the type of friend that everyone has to have one of,’” Maddie Wise said. “He was very very special.”

Action News Jax previously told you back in May when the Clay County medical examiner deemed Rylan Wise’s death as a suicide. The report said he overdosed on methadone.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said the investigative report has not yet been finalized and the case is still open.

While Rylan’s death happened in January, it’s being brought to light after his story circulated around the community.

“It really touched me a lot,” Maddie Wise said. “I didn’t think so many people would care in the beginning.”

But, the big push behind the investigation into this child’s death comes from a letter sent by Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook to the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

The letter said in part “at the time law enforcement was notified [January 12] the decedent’s body was showing signs of decomposition.”

The 11-year-old was staying at his father’s house at the time of his death. His parents are separated. The letter continues saying, Mr. Wise told deputies “[Rylan] had been sent to his room as punishment for failing grades.” Mr. Wise last saw his son on January 10-- two days before law enforcement was called to the home.

During the Clay County Sheriff’s Office’s investigation, they found drugs in Mr. Wise’s bedroom-- syringe tops, burnt spoons, among other things, according to Sheriff Cook.

“I know I didn’t fail my son, but I feel like I could have been a little bit louder with DCF knowing how things were in that house,” Maddie Wise said.

Sheriff Cook’s letter said the home was “generally in a deplorable state.” She ended her letter asking DCF to take swift action regarding custody of Rylan’s siblings, who currently share time with both their mother and father.

Action News Jax reached out to Mr. Wise and his attorney. We did not hear back.

Rylan’s mother said on Tuesday there will be a custody hearing and she is asking a judge for full custody of her children.

We’ll update, if there is a ruling.

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