Families devastated by loss of five to suspected fentanyl overdoses in Commerce City

The mother of one of the five people who died of suspected fentanyl overdoses in a Commerce City apartment over the weekend said she’s devasted by her 32-year-old daughter’s death.

Jennifer Danielle Cunningham worked at a Denver steakhouse, where she was a manager, bartender and waitress, her mother Debbie Kerr said Tuesday. Cunningham grew up in the Westminster area and attended Ranum and Hidden Lake high schools.

Kerr described her daughter as an industrious, hard worker who kept in touch with many local friends she had attended school with over the years.

“I just can’t believe it,” Kerr said, fighting back tears. “I’m probably in denial a little bit, but it’s been rough. I’m sure it’s going to get rougher.”

Kerr said she doesn’t know about what happened inside the apartment where the five were found dead Sunday. They are believed to have ingested cocaine that they didn’t realize had been laced with fentanyl, 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian Mason has said.

Family and friends are devastated by Cunningham’s death, Kerr said. She is survived by her brother Joshua Cunningham and her fiancé Eric Taylor.

Ker said her telephone has been ringing nonstop with people offering condolences.

“Anybody that knew her is devastated, she had tons of friends,” Kerr said. “People just loved her. She is going to be greatly missed. She was a shining star.”

The Adams County Coroner’s Office identified on Tuesday released the identities of the people found dead in the residence at the North Range Crossings Apartments at 14480 E. 104th Ave. The other four are Sabas Daniel Marquez, 24; Karina Joy Rodriguez, 28; Stephine Sonya Monroe, 29; and Humberto Arroyo-Ledezma, 32.

A 29-year-old woman and a 4-month-old infant were in the apartment but survived, Commerce City police Chief Clint Nichols said Sunday night.

“The cause of all deaths is pending toxicology results, but is believed to be drug-related,” Adams County Chief Coroner Monica Broncucia-Jordan said in a news statement.

On the porch of his home in north Denver, Dan Marquez told Denver7 on Monday that he lost his son, Sabas Daniel Marquez, known as Sam, his daughter-in-law, Karina Rodriguez, and his son-in-law.

“All my kids are good kids,” Dan Marquez said. “I really feel like it’s a dream or whatever, you know? It’s not reality.”

The weekend deaths in Commerce City come as Colorado’s fentanyl crisis continues to worsen. An average of two Coloradans died of fentanyl overdoses every day in the first nine months of 2021, state data shows.

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