Teenager's death at Oak Park apartment building caused by opiate intoxication

Family seeks answers. Police say investigation is still open


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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

The 17-year-old Wisconsin girl who was found in an Oak Park apartment building in November died of accidental opiate intoxication, according to an autopsy report from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office.

But the family of Kimberly Ciotola is still looking to shed some light on the case, which police have said is still an open investigation though it has yet to yield any charges.

Ciotola, of Sheboygan, Wis., was found in the hallway of a building at 855 Lake St. the morning of Nov. 8. Police said there was evidence of drug use at the scene, including heroin and paraphernalia used to inject it. She died upon arrival at Rush Oak Park Hospital.

The previous evening, Ciotola had taken a Greyhound bus from Wisconsin to downtown Chicago, where she was picked up by a 22-year-old man she'd met online. The man had previously been a resident of the building and was able to gain access to an empty unit in the building.

Oak Park Police Commander LaDon Reynolds said last week that police had not received the medical examiner's report and that no charges had been filed in the case. When asked if anyone was being questioned, Reynolds said, "the investigation is continuing."

Ciotola's death was "wholly unexpected," according to her older brother, Davis, in an email. "There is nothing in her history to suggest any past drug use," he said, adding his family has gotten no information about the cause of death.

According to a supervisor in the Records Department at the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, the case is closed.

While they are optimistic police will continue to search for answers, Davis Ciotola said his family finds it odd that the man his sister was with was released without punishment after "accompanying a minor into a vacant apartment he had no right to be in."

Ciotola also questioned whether the man was responsible for the drugs and paraphernalia found in the unit.

"We would just like to know what happened," he said.

Reader Comments

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Posted: January 27th, 2012 10:06 PM

people do drugs. People die. What there to hide? Drugs are stupid. Clearly this young girl had issues. She ran away from her family to involve herself with low life's. Sad

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: January 27th, 2012 9:53 PM

Dave Eggers from Green Bay, WI, the Oak Park Police Department does take this case and every case very seriously. If there was someone that could be charged, that person would have been charged. They may still be investigating the case, but either way, you should know the Oak Park Police Department is very professional.

Dave Eggers from Green Bay, WI  

Posted: January 27th, 2012 7:54 PM

I'd bet if the family had money to hire a lawyer, the police would take this seriously. From what I've found on the Internet, the father is a minister. Looks like Oak Park PD is trying to sweep this case under the rug. Shame on you, Oak Park PD.

Purple Halo  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 7:50 PM

Hey Violet, I finally figured it out. You are the spawn of the "Church Lady" from SNL. Is'nt that special.

Yes, drug dealers, negligent building owners and drug enablers need to be accountable.  

Posted: January 19th, 2012 7:22 PM

Each person needs to be accountable for their contribution to an untimely death, the drug dealer, the hotel with so little security that unsavory characters can squat there. Teens are not a dispensable population. They have misadventure but don't end up dead. When they end up dead, it is often because a crime has been committed, someone was complicit in enabling a crime. Young people/minors do have to be protected from drugs and consequences of using drugs which they do not fully comprehend.

Violet Aura  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 9:35 PM

@Condolences: You are really searching high and low to blame someone else for this tragedy, aren't you? In the first place, this girl was 17. Yes, that is technically a minor but old enough to know not to do heroin. The young man was 22. Yes, he's officially an adult but not so much older that he bears enough responsibility for her CHOICE. I am not in favor of blaming the people who give others the drugs that do them in. It implies that we must save others from themselves.

LiquidEvil from Oak Park  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 3:37 PM

Read the article again, OP Guy. The medical examiner's case is closed - just because OP police haven't filed charges yet doesn't mean they won't.

Just Say NO  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 12:20 PM

I love it. The owners of the building are now accomplices to this death? R u kidding me? Who ever takes drugs is responsible for what goes in their body's. There is a park across the street. They could have ingested it in a public bathroom. On the street. At McDonald's or Thorton's parking lots. Come on people. Wake UP.

OP Guy  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 10:47 AM

I agree, things don't add up, as it's strange that no one is held accountable for anything. It seems like the case was prematurely closed, but we, the public also don't have all the details, so it's hard to know what actually happened behind the curtain.

Condolences to this Wisconsin family  

Posted: January 18th, 2012 10:08 AM

Condolences to this girls family. What a sad thing for our community to have facilitated the tragedy of her death. Doesn't the young man involved at least get charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor or involuntary manslaughter? This story doesn't make sense on some levels. The building management is a hazard if people can becomes squatters there so easily. They, too, bear some responsibility for this tragedy. Something doesn't make sense here.

OP Guy  

Posted: January 17th, 2012 9:40 PM

Case closed? How did they guy know about and manage to get entry to an empty apartment there? Is it really that easy, and unmonitored? Oak Park is now importing victims? Sad!

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