Concord mother searches for justice after son dies from fentanyl exposure

CONCORD, N.C. — A Concord mother says she is still waiting for justice a year after her son died from fentanyl exposure.

Marshall Abbott was just one day shy of his 30th birthday when his family says he was exposed to a drug that took his life.

His mother Beth Abernathy talked to Channel 9′s Hannah Goetz about her fight for justice for her son and thousands of others like him.

“Marshall was amazing. Marshall lived his life with no fear,” Abernathy said.

But one year ago, Abernathy says she woke up to her worst nightmare.

“We knew our son was dead, but we had no idea why,” she said.

Detectives in Cabarrus County said they were ruling Abbott’s death as suspicious. A few months later the toxicology report came back from the medical examiner and said Abbott died of fentanyl poisoning.

“My son didn’t have alcohol, my son didn’t have marijuana (in his system),” Abernathy said. “My son had nothing in his system but enough fentanyl to kill 40 grown men and the small amount of methamphetamine it had been mixed with.”

In November, police arrested Aaron Furr in connection to Abbott’s death. He was charged with death by distribution. Police say he supplied the fentanyl that killed Abbott.

“Our family has a right to justice,” Abernathy said. “We should not have to, you know, over and over and over again, be forced to sit in a courtroom and watch the guy walk out and enjoy his life when we have to come back to the same hell every day without our child.”

Abernathy says her son was larger than life and that she will fight for him every day.

Through her advocacy, Abbott has been featured on billboards across North Carolina and in New York’s Times Square to help bring awareness to fentanyl deaths.

“When I’m done fighting for Marshall, I am going to fight for everyone else’s kid too,” Abernathy said.

Channel 9 learned that from 2020 to 2022 there were 130 fentanyl deaths in Cabarrus County. Since death by distribution charges became effective in 2019, Furr is just one of five people to be charged in Cabarrus.

Abernathy encourages anyone who is suffering to reach out for help.

Resources and more information are available on the Fentanyl Victims Network of North Carolina website.

(VIDEO: Woman advocates for speedier toxicology, autopsy results in fentanyl overdoses)

Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

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