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11-year-old Clay County boy’s memory honored at candlelight vigil

Medical examiner rules child’s overdose a suicide

Caregiver charged with exploiting elderly man, credit card fraud
Caregiver charged with exploiting elderly man, credit card fraud

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family members of an 11-year-old Clay County boy who died six months ago held a vigil in his honor Monday evening.

A medical examiner ruled the death of Rylan Wise a suicide, reporting that he died from an overdose due to methadone pills -- a drug commonly used to treat opioid addiction and pain.

“It’s been getting harder and harder. Every day it seems more and more unreal,” said Rylan’s mother, Maddie.

Rylan was days into visiting his father’s house on the day he died. His mother and father had split custody of him and his younger sister since they separated more than two years ago.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Children and Families began investigations into Rylan’s death and the safety of his siblings. Months after the death of Rylan, the Sheriff’s Office concluded its investigation with no findings of criminal conduct by Rylan’s father.

RELATED: Clay County 11-year-old boy’s death sparks investigations by detectives, caseworkers

“How can there be no charges when we know what we know and seen what we’ve seen?” Maddie Wise said.

She said all of the money made from selling shirts and other items during the vigil will benefit the family.

The Middleburg community showed up to support the family. They lit candles and shared a moment of silence to honor the boy’s life.

“That’s a good thing about a small town, they’ll donate and help out whenever they can,” said Charles Hodges, a friend of the family.

The family on Monday told News4Jax that the case has been closed, though authorities could not immediately confirm that. On Monday, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office said its investigative report hasn’t yet been completed, and the Department of Children and Family’s website still listed the casual factor of the boy’s death as “under investigation.”

About the Author:

Brie Isom joined the News4JAX team in January 2021 after spending three years covering news in South Bend, Indiana.