When I think of the many memories of Joshua, I can’t help but smile”. “He was the most unique person and just so full of love and life.”
Joshua was the third of four children, with an older brother and sister and another younger brother. A happy-go-lucky, boisterous child, he grew into a teen and then a young man who was always laughing and smiling.
Joshua loved his friends, his dirt bike and martial arts. He also loved music, recording his own rap CD at the age of 15. Many of his friends knew him as King Flippity, a name that actually came from his teen days of backyard wrestling with friends. He started as Mr. Flippity, but became King after a “world championship” win one day. His father made him a championship belt and, from that day forward, he was known as King Flippity.
To his family and many friends, Joshua seemed larger than life. He was a totally amazing, unique individual that never, ever judged anybody. He, like the rest of us in this world, had shortcomings. However, he would never judge or hold that against anybody ever in his life.
Joshua was diagnosed at a young age with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and Tourette’s syndrome. The OCD meant repetitive routines that were at times challenging. The Tourette’s caused vocal and motor ticks which led to significant challenges in school. Challenges that we worked through as a family and he always found something positive from and/or learned a life lesson. With these lessons he touched so many people positively. He would give you the shirt off his back and then he’d wrap his arms around you to make sure you were comfortable in it.
Although Joshua had his issues, he always made sure everybody was happy and comforted. He never worried about himself. He always worried about everybody else. That’s just who he was. His friends describe him as loyal, creative, funny, intelligent, someone who made friends everywhere he went and someone those friends could always count on to be there for them. As one friend stated “Joshua had the heart, strength, charisma and confidence of 100 men. That smile could light half of North America,”
Joshua through all of his mental health issues persevered, graduated from high school, had a full time job, a girlfriend, had his recording studio completed and was in the process of building his house with his father.
The night he passed away, it was business as usual, he worked that day, came home, showered and was heading out to his younger brother’s house with his girlfriend, Robyn Brown 18, to make their halloween costumes for the upcoming halloween party. He hugged and kissed his father and me and said his usual bye, love you mom, love you dad and set out. I was working night shift and headed to work. I had just finished the nightly rounds at work and was in the nursing office writing my nursing notes when I heard the front door open, I glanced up at the clock, it was 1040 and I thought to myself, that must be Gavin our night security. Without lifting my head I called out Good evening Gavin. There was no reply, only footsteps and I thought that was strange. As I went to get up I felt a hand gently touch my shoulder, when I looked up I saw my husband with 2 police officers standing behind him. I immediately knew there was something terribly wrong, the pale horrified look on my husbands face was one I will never forget. The words that came next shattered my world…”Joshua 22, overdosed”. I immediately wanted to go to the hospital and see him thinking he was still alive but hospitalized. Charlie then told me it’s too late he died. I couldn’t believe it, I wouldn’t believe it, I insisted, demanded, begged and pleaded for them to take me to him. However the police told me it was too late he was already sent to the Medical Examiner’s in Halifax. I could not stop screaming…I wanted to see my son. My world had crumbled, it was surreal, I kept thinking this is a bad dream, a nightmare. And not being able to see him was making all of this so unbelievable.
The night of October 29, 2011 a 911 call was made by Kevin Wheaton 48, regarding a possible overdose. When authorities and EHS arrived at Kevin’s apartment, Kevin met them at the door and led them to Joshua, it was too late the paramedics were unable to assist him as rigor mortis had set in which meant Joshua was dead for at least 4 to 8 hours before the 911 call was made. Kevin reported in a newspaper article “Police searched the house for drugs., confiscating all of his prescription medication, including the methadone in the fridge”. “They even took a box of baking soda from the cupboard, he says, obviously suspecting it was cocaine.” However in the court room Officer Trekker reports that there were a multitude of prescription pill bottles all over the apartment. They reportedly seized five prescription medications and left the empty bottles in the apartment these five prescription medications were entered as evidence at the October 29,2013 trial however, none of these were methadone. When I questioned the Chief of Police, John Collyer on this matter he commented “Regarding the issue of seizure of the liquid methadone in the fridge; They seized all of the prescription pills they could see that were in ‘plain view’. Included in the pills that were seized were empty methadone pill containers.” Ironically Kevin reported to officers that night that he and Robyn “hit it off” and that they were now in love.
It was four days after the events of October 29, 2011 before I finally saw my sons lifeless body laying in a casket. I still have unanswered questions as to who identified my son, no one from our family was asked to identify the remains. I have asked this question several times to the Police Department and still do not have an answer.
It took five months for the toxicology report to return. Joshua died of an acute methadone intoxication, which was not prescribed to him. Testing was negative for metabolites of methadone. This evidence suggested he was not tolerant to methadone. The concentration of methadone was within the reported fatal range. Kevin Wheaton reported in a newspaper article that he (Joshua) was intoxicated. In fact I will quote his statement. “it was obvious that he had been partying extensively, as he appeared to be under the heavy influence of alcohol”, however the toxicology report shows absolutely no trace of alcohol in his system.There were initial charges placed against Kevin Wheaton for trafficking, however, there was not enough evidence and the charges were dismissed.
The toxicology report was released on March 25, 2012 and Robyn Brown was deceased by March 29, 2012. After Robyn and Joshua went to Kevin’s that night, Joshua died and Robyn never returned home. She was never able to speak or see her family alone again, it was like she was brainwashed. Rumor is she was sexually exploited. She was physically changed beyond recognition, her family had to identify her lifeless body sustained by life-support, by comparing birth marks on her body with pictures, she never regained consciousness. Coincidently Kevin called 911 for Robyn too and she too died of acute methadone intoxication, also not prescribed to her. When paramedics arrived at the scene he reported that she did not do drugs and gave the paramedics and hospital staff the name Ashley Brown, therefore they were unable to access her medical history and treated her under fiction vs fact. There were no charges in her case.
It continues to puzzle me as to how there were three people in the room the night of October 29, 2011 and two of them are dead. The one person who had the prescriptions for the methadone bears no accountability or remorse for the families whose lives have been forever changed.
Tamara Ballard, Joshua’s Mom
GPDOTS Director, LPN