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'A nightmare I can't wake up from': Michigan mom calls for changes after sodium nitrite deaths tied to Canadian


NOTE: If  you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health there are a number of ways to get help, including by calling Talk Suicide Canada at 1-833-456-4566. More services can be found on the CAMH website.

A Michigan mom is speaking out after her teenage son died after consuming a product ordered online from a company tied to a Mississauga man facing charges of aiding and abetting suicide, as Canadian politicians propose new rules to make tech giants more accountable for what they promote and sell.

Tonia Jones joins a growing number of anguished parents whose families were changed forever after a delivery from companies connected to sodium nitrite sold by Kenneth Law — and believes her 17-year-old son Anthony should be still alive today.

“That was my youngest son. He’ll be forever 17,” Jones told CTV News from Detroit. “No other family should have to go through what we have gone through. It’s devastating. I can’t sleep. It’s like a nightmare I can’t wake up from.”

Jones said that last year her son ingested something he ordered online — and rushed to her in the early morning hours in a panic.

“He came running into my room, saying, ‘Mom, I did something.’ I said, ‘What did you do?’ He said ‘I need to go to the hospital.’ He kept saying, ‘I want to live, I want to live,’” she remembered.

Paramedics couldn’t save him, and he was pronounced dead hours later. Jones’ lawyers said paramedics could tell it was sodium nitrite but there was no indication of what treatment should be on the packaging, and officials couldn’t determine the antidote — methylene blue — fast enough.

“Medical professionals should know that methylene blue is the antidote and it needs to be issued within minutes of ingestion,” said one of Jones' lawyers, Naomi Leeds, with C.A. Goldberg Victims’ Rights Law in New York.

Leeds said her firm has been calling for an investigation into Law since Anthony’s death last year.

Anthony Jones is seen in this undated photograph provided to CTV News Toronto.

The packaging Jones and her family found in Anthony’s room show the words “Imtime Cuisine” — the name of one of the companies police have connected to 57-year-old Law.

Law, a former practicing engineer and chef, was arrested last week in Mississauga and is now charged with aiding and abetting the suicide of two people in Ontario. Peel police said he sent some 1,200 packages to 40 countries.

Law has said he’s not responsible for how the products are used. He is not facing any charges for deaths outside Canada. In the Canadian legal system, Law is considered innocent until proven guilty.

Police from Colorado to Italy have been following up on notices sent through Interpol as they track the packages to their destination, sometimes finding tragedy in their wake.

Jones joins a grim tally of people whose family members say they have purchased sodium nitrite from Law before they died, including 20-year-old Noelle Ramirez from Colorado, 23-year-old Neha Raju, 22-year-old Tom Parfett, and 42-year-old Gary Cooper from the U.K.

Seventeen-year-old Anothony Jones, 20-year-old Noelle Ramirez from Colorado, 23-year-old Neha Raju, 22-year-old Tom Parfett, and 42-year-old Gary Cooper from the U.K. are seen in this photograph.

Many found their way to the product through a pro-suicide online forum that some advocates are calling to be regulated so that vulnerable people are not exposed to harmful messaging that encourages them to take their own life.

“There are only limited ways that we can combat this,” said Robert Olsen of the Alberta-based Centre for Suicide Prevention, saying Canada does not have legislation that can limit access to these websites, unlike some other countries.

“Pro-suicide sites have been around for a long time. It’s a horrific reality but it’s not surprising,” Olsen said.

Some of Law’s websites were on the sales platform of the Canadian tech company Shopify, which said it took them down after becoming aware he was violating their terms of service.

The NDP’s heritage critic, MP Peter Julian, has introduced a private member’s bill to crack down on tech companies that may not even know what they are selling.

“The reality is, if someone like Mr. Law tried to open that business in the community, it would be shut down. In the virtual world, these kinds of crimes that have real-world impacts happen with impunity,” Julian said in an interview.

Laura Scaffidi, a spokesperson for Canada’s heritage minister, said consultations are underway for a government bill too, saying, “It’s clear that the status quo is unacceptable. We’ll propose our own ‘made in Canada’ approach to online safety.”

CTV News is not naming the pro-suicide site. Some of the posts claim that sodium nitrite is a peaceful, painless way to die. Tonia Jones, one of the only ones to see their loved ones die, says that’s a lie.

“The look in his eyes. I just can’t say it was painless,” she said.

Law is in custody now. He is expected to have another bail hearing next week.

The charges have not been proven in court. Top Stories

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