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Grieving dad who lost son to heroin: 'I want my son back'

TNS Regional News • Mar 17, 2014 at 3:07 PM

Tom Boehle knows there’s no sense in asking how or why his son died. That exercise would only beat him up more, and the loss of a child has already created wounds that may never heal.

But there are days that Tom Boehle sits on the couch in his Fairfield apartment, and thinks about the tragic events that occurred on Jan. 19, 2014, and those that led up to that morning. He plays them over repeatedly in his mind, and instead of finding answers, all he can do is wipe away tears.

All he really knows is his son, Travis Lee Boehle, 27, a father of a 3-year-old daughter, Anne Marie, is dead, another senseless life stolen by heroin. It’s easy to look at the heroin epidemic that is sweeping our nation, and be blinded by the numbers. Last year, just in Butler County, 50 people died after overdosing from heroin, and that number has doubled every year since 2011, said Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones.

He said 10 people have died from heroin this year, and he predicted that number could be 60 to 70 by the end of 2014.

But the numbers only tell one side of the story. The pain on Tom Boehle’s face, and the damp paper towel in his meaty right hand, tells the tale behind the statistics.

Since his son, one of his four children, died less than two months ago, Boehle has spent countless hours on the Internet searching information on heroin, and calling the Fairfield and Cincinnati police departments seeking answers. His son’s cell phone was confiscated by Cincinnati police because they hope the last calls may lead them to the drug dealer, who allegedly lives in the Cincinnati area.

The police have told Boehle they’re overwhelmed and understaffed in their quest to fight heroin and reduce the deaths it causes. He understands that. He knows there have been staff reductions in public safety, everywhere really. Still, he’s frustrated.

“Imagine losing your best friend,” he said, unable to control his emotions. “That boy was well loved. I know he didn’t want to die. He never would have left his daughter.”

He reached for another towel, then added: “I want my son back.”

After graduating from Fairfield High School in 2005, Boehle worked with his dad in their flooring business, making about $50,000 a year. His father said his son occasionally smoked marijuana and snorted heroin. He also was attracted to the “wrong women,” his father said.

A few months ago, after Boehle realized his son had bounced some company checks, he approached the woman who was living with his son and told her to leave town. He felt the woman, a known drug addict, was a bad influence on his son. So he gave her $2,000, and she returned to Detroit on a Greyhound.

Then his son moved back home. On Saturday, Jan. 15, Travis Boehle met some friends for dinner, and his date that night, an exotic dancer, was working at a bachelor party. After dinner, Boehle drove to a local casino and played high-stakes poker, his father said.

Throughout the night and into the morning, Tom Boehle said he called and checked on his son. He got home about 4:30 a.m. and his father said he was “messed up” because he was staggering around the apartment and constantly rubbing his nose, a sign he probably had snorted heroin.

His son went to bed, and several times, Boehle said he checked on him and he was sleeping. Hours later, when he checked again, his son was slumped over near his bed. Boehle said he rolled his son over, performed CPR but he “knew he was gone.” According to the autopsy report from the Butler County Coroner’s Office, heroin and a “markedly elevated” level of fentanyl were found in his blood system, and he had a fresh needle mark on his right arm.

When Boehle talked to his son about his drug use, he said they made him feel “at peace with no problems or worries.”

Now, because of those drugs, his father is feeling just the opposite.


By Rick McCrabb - Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services

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