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NJ mom dies after inadvertent fentanyl overdose

A New Jersey mother has died after she and four others inadvertently overdosed on cocaine laced with fentanyl in the parking lot of the shopping mall where they worked — as cops announced that two people have been arrested in the frightening ordeal.

Michelle Kerry Edoo, 29, of Bergenfield, NJ, died last Saturday, according to an online fundraiser created by Edoo’s family.

Edoo’s death came three days after she and four other female mall workers were found on March 15 in the lower level of the parking garage at the Shops at Riverside mall in Hackensack.

The four other mall workers, who have not been identified, survived.

The group of friends thought they were ingesting cocaine and were unaware it was laced with a dangerous amount of the opioid fentanyl, Bergen prosecutors said.

Good Samaritans performed CPR on the women before first responders arrived and administered the overdose-reversing medicine, Narcan.

Four of the victims — all between 29 to 41-years-old — were then transported to the Hackensack University Medical Center for further treatment, while a fifth remained at the scene and declined further medical treatment, officials said.

Michelle Kerry Edoo, 29.
News12 NJ

Edoo, who worked at the Cheesecake Factory at the mall, was remembered as a doting mother to her daughter, Ava.

“More than anything, Michelle worshipped her daughter Ava, and took pride in telling anyone who would listen about how captivating she is,” the online fundraiser set up to support her daughter read.

The touching tribute also described her as “always laughing, smiling.”

“She always supported and pushed the people she loved and cared for toward their dreams. She spoke with genuine love and compassion for anyone she spoke with; and was always willing to help with a loving hand or a listening ear,” it continued.

Edoo was working full-time at the Cheesecake Factory but had just enrolled in nursing school, the fundraiser said.

Michelle Kerry Edoo.
News12 NJ

Meanwhile, authorities arrested two men from Paterson, New Jersey, Friday in connection to the overdoses.

Garfield Jones, 48, is charged with third-degree possession with the intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance and third-degree possession of a controlled substance, the prosecutor’s office said.

Robert McCrae, 52, is charged with third-degree possession with the intent to distribute less than a half-ounce of heroin and fourth-degree possession with the intent to distribute drug paraphernalia, authorities said.

The Shops at Riverside mall in Hackensack.
Christopher Sadowski

“We are here to sound the alarm,” Bergen County Prosecutor Mark Musella said at a Friday press conference.

“The death is due to the fentanyl that is pouring into our communities, killing our friends and killing our family members.”

Officials said Friday they would work to identify and prosecute drug dealers, suppliers and traffickers in the fight to curb fentanyl overdoses, reported.