Elaina Towery texted her mom, Cheryl Towery, around 5:30 p.m. on August 10, letting her know that she would be home soon.
According to WJBK, Elaina had just walked into a Detroit Burger King with a friend to use the restroom. When Elaina failed to appear 20 minutes later, the friend became worried.
Around that same time, a Burger King employee found Elaina in the bathroom, unconscious and going into cardiac arrest. She had overdosed — again.
For the past seven years, according to WJBK, the 22-year-old battled addiction. During that time, Elaina overdosed a total of five times and was admitted to five different treatment centers.
Cheryl told WJBK that it started in 2010 when Elaina turned to drugs after becoming involved in an abusive relationship.
Elaina’s 5-year-old son, Christopher, is a product of that abusive relationship; she gave him up in order to ensure that he would have a better life.
Though the abusive boyfriend has since been convicted of his crimes, the relationship and giving up her son intensified Elaina’s drug addiction, according to Cheryl.
Cheryl admitted that as a result of Elaina’s addiction, she would often find her daughter “beat up, being pimped out, being kept in a hotel room on heroin.”
It was about an hour and a half after Cheryl last heard from Elaina that she received a Facebook message letting her know that Elaina had overdosed yet again. Cheryl had seen her daughter post-overdose before, but this time was much worse. She recalled:
“I wasn’t prepared for what I saw in the emergency room, because that’s the worst I’ve ever seen her. […] She’s my only daughter, my best friend. She was supposed to start her new job today, now she’s on life support.”
It’s now believed that the heroin Elaina took was laced with fentanyl.
On Monday, doctors told Cheryl that the 22-year-old’s liver and kidneys were failing, that her muscles were deteriorating, and that she showed no brain activity.
The 49-year-old took one last photo with her daughter before making the decision to take her off life support:Screenshot/WJBK
Cheryl made a promise to her daughter:
“I’m going to fight for the rest of my life to make sure the people down here on the street selling this to people, need to be locked up.”
She hopes the photo will “force other parents, other addicts — everyone — to wake up.”