The medical examiner didn't bother because "the gay community uses GHB", the victim's family claim.
A petition to reopen the investigation into the death of a 20-year-old gay man — who died of a drug overdose during a blind date — has passed 40k signatures.
Jaxon Sales was found dead in the bed of his 41-year-old hook-up on the morning of March 2, 2020.
The medical examiner later found cocaine, methamphetamine and Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid — AKA the date rape drug GHB — in his system, and concluded it was an accidental overdose. No criminal investigation ever took place.
But Sales' devastated parents are among the 40,000 people who have several unanswered questions, and are demanding the case be reopened.
They claim an official with the medical examiner told them no investigation was needed because "the gay community uses GHB"; they also allege that had their son been heterosexual, both the police and medical examiner would have fully investigated his death.
"On the night of March 1, 2020, our amazing, beloved son Jaxon went to a high-rise apartment in an affluent area of San Francisco for a blind date," Jaxon's parents wrote in the petition.
"We texted him at 11pm to check if he was coming home that night. Jaxon said he would – and he always came home when he said he would. Jaxon never came home from that date. Every parent's nightmare became our reality."
His parents said it took months to receive the police and medical examiner's reports. "Only then did we learn that our vibrant, hardworking, gay, Asian American son was found naked and dead in the bed of a 41-year-old white male whom Jaxon did not know."
"The San Francisco Medical Examiner conducted the autopsy and, without any substantive investigation, declared Jaxon's death an accidental drug overdose."
According to the Bay Area Reporter, the medical examiner's report claims Jaxon went to the San Francisco apartment of an acquaintance and a friend to have sex; the friend later left. Neither the friend nor acquaintance are named in the report.
The 41-year-old man said they went to bed at 2 AM. He said he got up at 6:30 AM to shower for work, and could hear Jaxon snoring on the bed. But when he went to wake him an hour later, he was unresponsive.
Emergency services were called, and Sales was pronounced dead at 7:52 AM, according to the outlet. He was found lying on the floor face-up.
Both SFPD and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner insist the investigation was thorough, and that no evidence of homicide or any foul play was found, therefore the case was closed.
"If Jaxon was given the GHB right before he went to bed, why would an overdose have taken five hours to kill him? What time did Jaxon ingest that lethal dose of GHB? Did Jaxon actually consent to taking this drug? While Jaxon was dying from a GHB overdose, why did that person shower and clean his residence before calling 911?" they asked in the petition.
"The illegal drugs were found the morning of Jaxon's death stowed away in a closet. Why was no one questioned about possessing those drugs?"
The parents claim the 41-year-old said there were multiple guests there that night, including the mutual acquaintance who dropped Jaxon off, yet nobody else was interviewed.
They also claim that Jaxon's uncle, when picking up his nephew's belongings from the medical examiner's office, was told about another non-fatal overdose at that same apartment just one week prior to Jaxon's OD.
"A recent prior overdose in that apartment raises a huge red flag. Why hasn't that overdose victim been questioned?" they asked.
Furthermore, the parents revealed that while they have Jaxon's phone, they are unable to access it through the passcode; however they do know there are 38 texts back and forth between one specific number.
"We have identified the owner of that phone number and have given that information to the police, yet they have not investigated it," the parents said. "We reached out to the owner of the phone number, who told us to contact that male and refused to disclose the nature of their relationship."
"What is the connection between the owner of that phone number and the 41-year-old white male who was with Jaxon when he died?"
David Serrano Sewell, chief operating officer at the SF medical examiner's office, would not confirm or deny "the gay community uses GHB" remark to the Bay Area Reporter; however he insisted sexual orientation made no difference to its investigations.
"The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner expresses our deepest condolences to the family of Jaxon Sales," Sewell told the outlet. "The OCME conducted a thorough forensic investigation to certify the cause and manner of death in this case with the highest degree of competence, professionalism, compassion, and consistent with state law."
"A decedent's sexual orientation, race, religion, or other factors do not influence our death investigations or conclusions."
On Friday, California State Senator Scott Wiener added his voice to those asking the investigation be re-opened, in an open letter to Chief of Police William Scott, and Chief Medical Examiner Dt Christopher Liverman:
Today I sent this letter to the Chief of Police & Chief Medical Examiner about the death of Jaxon Sales & community/family concerns about inadequate investigation of this tragedy. pic.twitter.com/nod66fA7Ek
"I have recently become aware of the death of Jaxon Sales, a young gay man, which occurred while he was in San Francisco at the home of a person he had just met, possibly for a party," he wrote. "As reported by multiple news sources, the circumstances surrounding Mr. Sales' death remain unclear."
Wiener said that if the "the gay community uses GHB" remark was made, it is "highly offensive, inappropriate and dismissive of a drug overdose from a substance at times used as a date rape drug."
"Because no one who was present at the home the evening before Jaxon's death was interviewed, other than the owner of the property, it is unclear to me how SFPD could have reached any conclusions about this death, in terms of whether or not a criminal act occurred," Wiener wrote, adding that it was "alarming" police had not taken the "basic investigative steps" of looking into the reported overdose at the same address the previous week.
"While no investigative outcome will ever make up for the loss of a child, Jaxon Sales and his parents deserve a full investigation, regardless of Jaxon's sexual orientation and regardless of which communities do or don't use GHB," he concluded. "To be clear, I am not pre-judging whether a criminal act occurred. I am, however, asking you to ensure that a complete investigation occurs."