Mother of drugs overdose victim shares final photo moments before life support is switched off

Cheryl Towery hopes harrowing image of 22-year-old on life support will be wake-up call for others

Chris Baynes
Tuesday 15 August 2017 12:09 BST
Cheryl Tower holds her daughter Elaina in her hospital bed before she life support is withdrawn
Cheryl Tower holds her daughter Elaina in her hospital bed before she life support is withdrawn (Fox 2)

The mother of a 22-year-old woman who died after overdosing on toxic heroin has shared a harrowing last photo of her daughter moments before she was taken off life support.

Cheryl Towery, 49, said she hoped the heartbreaking image of Elaina Towery lying in a coma in her hospital bed would serve as a wake-up call to other addicts and their families.

Ms Towery died on Monday at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit, four days after she was found slumped in the toilet of a nearby Burger King.

She is thought to have taken heroin laced with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opoid up to 100 times stronger than morphine that has been linked to thousands of deaths in the US.

The mother-of-one had battled addiction for seven years and overdosed five times.

She began taking heroin after getting into an abusive relationship with a man who was later convicted of domestic violence, according to her mother.

"She has a five-year-old son that she gave up due to her addiction because she wanted him to be in a better place," Ms Towery told local news channel Fox 2.

"[She was] beat up, being pimped out, being kept in a hotel room on heroin."

Cheryl Towery said daughter Elaina was her 'best friend'
Cheryl Towery said daughter Elaina was her 'best friend' (Cheryl Towery/Facebook)

Elaina was found unconscious and in cardiac arrest by staff 25 minutes after going into the fast food restaurant's toilet in Thursday evening.

"I wasn't prepared for what I saw in the emergency room because that's the worst I've ever seen her," her mother said.

Elaina suffered liver and kidney failure and her muscles deteriorated. A scan on Monday showed no brain activity.

"She's my only daughter, my best friend. She was supposed to start her new job today, now she's on life support, " said Ms Towery before her daughter's death.

She said she would "fight for the rest of my life" to prevent future deaths and see dealers "locked up".

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