Teen at center of botched Holland Tunnel 'rescue' dies

AP News
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Posted: Jan 27, 2017 5:55 PM

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — A teenager who inspired a group of Pennsylvania residents to try to drive into New York City with a cache of weapons in a botched "rescue" attempt has died.

Jenea Patterson, 18, died Wednesday of a drug overdose, her father, James Patterson of Kingston, told The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens' Voice.

The Luzerne County coroner confirmed the death but said it is still investigating the cause.

Pennsylvania residents John Cramsey, Dean Smith and Kimberly Arendt are facing weapons charges after they were stopped at the entrance of the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City in June.

Cramsey, whose daughter died of a heroin overdose a year ago, posted online shortly before the arrest that he was heading to New York to "rescue" a teenager whose friend had overdosed.

Jenea Patterson later said she didn't need to be rescued and was picked up by family.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty.

James Patterson said her daughter had long abused drugs. He hoped the notoriety of the Holland Tunnel episode would serve as a wakeup call.

"We were standing in my kitchen. I grabbed her, hugged her and kissed her. I said, 'Baby girl you can't disobey the warning signs or you'll end up like your girlfriend,'" James Patterson said. "I told her, 'Jenea, you have to get out of the game.'"