PENNSYLVANIA -- Angela Brown of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania last spoke to her niece, Sierra, three months ago.
Then at 19-years-old, Sierra Schmitt, told her aunt she was in the hospital and needed help.
“I heard she was involved in prostitution and with drugs,” Brown recalled to PIX11, outside her home in Wilkes Barre.
“She wasn’t always that way,” Brown said, with a catch in her throat.
Sierra Schmitt turned 20 on May 17 and, just over a month later, she was dead from a heroin overdose inside a Brooklyn apartment.
A desperate text went out from Schmitt’s 16-year-old friend, Jenea, who is also from Wilkes Barre.
“She told my daughter she texted friends for help,” Brown said. “She had to get out of there. That Sierra was dead. That the people she was with took her phone. That they weren’t allowed to call 911,” Brown said, quoting Jenea.
“When she told them Sierra didn’t have a pulse, the guy—whoever was with them—said no one is calling anyone till we get the s—t out of there.”
Apparently, the unknown man was referring to drugs and assorted paraphernalia.
The apartment was located at 184 Stuyvesant Ave., in the Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.
The text reached Kimberly Arendt in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania.
Arendt was once a camp counselor to Jenea.
Arendt reached out to John Cramsey, who had started an anti-heroin group on Facebook called “Enough is Enough.”
Cramsey, at 50, got the call for help on the 4-month anniversary of his own daughter’s fatal overdose.
Like Sierra Schmitt, Alexandria “Lexii” Cramsey was just 20.
Lexii was beautiful and beloved by family and friends.
She’d done modeling in places like Mexico City.
A man who knew Lexii since she was a little girl said she’d tried to warn young people about the perils of heroin.
Yet, a toxicology report showed Lexii died from a lethal mix of heroin and fentanyl, inside a loft space in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Feb. 21, 2016.
Her boyfriend, Marquillis Calhoun, was dead by her side.
He died from a different mixture of drugs.
The grieving John Cramsey actually laid down on the bed where his daughter drew her last breaths.
A Fentanyl overdose is what killed the rock icon, Prince. The powerful painkiller is 40 to 50 times more potent than heroin.
It’s also cheaper and more addictive.
That’s why ruthless dealers often cut a bit of fentanyl in with their doses of heroin—to make their product go a bit further.
It keeps the addicts coming back. It also kills users with more lethal speed.
PIX11 visited Zionsville, where John Cramsey owned his gun shop “Higher Ground Tactical” and were told by one of his store managers to leave “unless we wanted to be escorted out by state police.”
Outside, a new customer, Dan Healy, said “If my daughter had died from a heroin overdose, I think I’d probably be in the other seat with him,” referring to Cramsey’s monster truck, which he was driving—when he was stopped at the Holland Tunnel.
Cramsey was driving with Arendt and Dean Smith, a graphic artist and photographer he knew.
The truck was full of guns, including an assault rifle and shotgun and 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
Police said they also found a marijuana pipe, one Valium pill, and one Xanax.
All three people in the truck were thrown into Hudson County Correctional Center, where they’ve remained since Tuesday, June 21, unable to make $75,000 cash bail.
Meantime, the teen who started the crew’s journey is back home in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania with her mother.
The mother was not happy to see our TV camera.
“Get away from me, please!” she screamed, when we turned up at her door.
She did tell us her daughter was resting inside.