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SAN DIEGO – Three years after Jacob Palet died from an accidental fentanyl overdose, Jonathan Mefford, the man responsible for selling the East County baseball player the drugs, was sentenced in federal court to more than 15 years behind bars.

Despite the long-awaited sentencing, the Palet family says that this update provides little to no closure.

“We don’t have our son and we will never have our son, so it feels like a life sentence for us,” said Jacob’s mother, Rita Palet.

“Today hurts as much as it did the day he passed. It doesn’t get better. People say. it gets better,’ when does it get better? For us, unfortunately, this is our life and it feels like this is going to be our lives for the remainder that we’re here,” says Dave Palet, Jacob’s dad.

Jacob’s parents found the 20-year-old unconscious in his room on Oct. 30, 2018, dead from a fatal dose of fentanyl.

“From what we were told, it happened in a matter of seconds,” Dave said. “While he was playing video games online with friends, he just fell over and died in his bed.”

At the time of his death, Jake was a baseball coach and player, admired in the community and on his way to making a career out of the thing he loved. Rita and Dave say, however, that Jake dealt with depression stemming back to his high school days.

“He got jumped by the football team because he was leaving for a rival school. He took 26 blows to the head and he said after that day he felt like the lights turned off and he said the glow disappeared, he told us.  And from that day on is when Jake battled major depression to the point where he tried to commit suicide multiple times,” said Dave.

The night before Jacob died, the 20-year-old said he was feeling anxious. He found Mefford through social media and purchased what he thought was Xanax.

“He had no idea that there was fentanyl in that Xanax pill at the time,” said Jacob’s father. “And for Jake, that one bad decision- taking medicine that was not prescribed for him- ended his life.” 

The Palets are sharing their story to shine a light on the growing fentanyl crisis and hope it may save another family from similar pain.

“He was our baby boy and not having Jake for the rest of our lives and knowing that he’s missing every big event – for us, it’s such a wave of sadness,” Dave said after the sentencing. “September all the way through the end of the year -every single year!”

Mefford was convicted of selling meth and fentanyl, as well and carrying weapons across state lines.