Students mourn girl who died from suspected ecstasy overdose

Students at a school in Edmonton mourned a 14-year-old classmate who died in hospital Saturday from an suspected overdose of the street drug ecstasy.
Cassie Williams, 14, died Saturday from a suspected overdose of the street drug ecstasy. ((Courtesy of Angie Eyre))
Students at a school in Edmonton mourned a 14-year-old classmate who died in hospital Saturday from an suspected overdose of the street drug ecstasy.

Cassandra Williams, who was known to her friends as Cassie, was one of two teenagers who became ill Friday night at a dance party for teens at the indoor Galaxyland Amusement Park in West Edmonton Mall.

Williams was taken to hospital where she died late Saturday afternoon surrounded by her family members.

"Worst moment of my life," said her mother Angie Eyre. "She actually wasn't removed from life support. She was dying on her own."

The school set up a memorial to Cassie at Eyre's request.

On Monday, students wrote notes and placed teddy bears on a table at St. Elizabeth Seton School.

"Cassie, we miss you. RIP," one note said.

Students at St. Elizabeth Seton School in Edmonton posted notes Monday on the locker belonging to Cassie Williams, 14. Williams died of a suspected ecstasy overdose on Saturday. ((CBC))
Students also set up a memorial at Williams's locker. Notes were taped around a picture of the blond teenager, and some students had placed bouquets of flowers on the floor.

Eyre went to the school Monday and said she was in awe by what she saw.

"I just stayed there for so long trying to read some of the stuff that they had written," she said. "It was just amazing, the love that came out of that school today."

Through tears, Eyre had praise for the school's efforts to remember her daughter.

"I love everything that they did for us. All the support that they gave … they appreciated the life that she had at that school."

Williams's teacher Tenille Morin remembered Williams as a great student.

"As a student in class she was well-behaved. She was very nice to all the other classmates," Morin said. "And then when she was outside of the classroom she was really outgoing with her friends."

Students are taking her death quite hard, Morin said.

"Right now we're letting them grieve with it and letting them choose what they want to do. Some of them are sitting in their classrooms and talking with friends. Others are walking around the school looking at her locker."

The school ensured grief counsellors were available to speak to students Monday.

Police arrested a 16-year-old boy for allegedly selling the drugs. No charges have yet been laid. 

Some teens who spoke to CBC News said it's easy for people to sneak ecstasy into the mall's "Rock 'N Ride" events.

In a release issued late Monday afternoon, in which it extended its sympathies to Williams's family, West Edmonton Mall also defended the security for the events.

"Security and staff strictly control access to Rock 'N Ride events by the use of two entrances and one exit. Security and staff restrict access to certain areas during Rock 'N Ride events. Security and staff check all youth and bags entering Rock 'N Ride events, as well as all lockers, for any inappropriate items,"  the release said.

This is the second deadly incident involving ecstasy in Alberta within the last month. Two teenage girls died in late March after nine teens took the drug at a wedding on the Paul First Nation outside of Edmonton.

Eyre said she and her husband talked to Cassie about the dangers of ecstasy after the death of the two girls.