A stepfather is mourning the loss of his stepson who was left alone at a Northwest Bakersfield park, where he eventually died last Saturday morning, has a message for all teens:
“Never leave your friends alone, I don’t care [why], never leave them alone,” said Larry Billingsley, Anthony Spence’s father.
Advice Billingsley believes could have saved his stepson Anthony Spence’s life.
“The boy was a good kid, sure he made some bad choices, but who doesn’t?” said Billingsley.
Anthony left home Friday afternoon to hang out with friends. Nothing out of the ordinary, his stepfather said. But he was gone a long time, it was 10:30 p.m. and Anthony still wasn’t home.
His parents began to worry. They tried calling, but his phone was off. They started texting his friends.
“We said where’s Anthony, can you bring him home?” said Billingsley. “They said we’ll bring him home and they never did. And, that’s the last we heard of anything until the next morning.”
The police came knocking on their door. They had found the 18 year old unresponsive in a baseball dugout on the western side of Polo Park around 6:30 a.m. The friends that were supposed to bring him home left him at the park instead.
“We asked, ‘why wouldn’t you bring him home, we only live half a block from this park,” said Billingsley. “He said, ‘I was worried about myself getting home.’ I said, ‘why couldn’t you just come pound on the door, we’re right here, we could’ve done something. You guys just left him out on the cold and you’re suppose to be his friend. You don’t do that, it’s terrible.’”
Bakersfield Police are investigating Anthony’s cause of his death. 17 news spoke to a Frontier High sophomore who says she was his ex-girlfriend. She told us Anthony drank half a bottle of liquor, and took a bar of Xanax laced with Fentanyl earlier that night.
“I’m going to be honest,” said Billingsley. “Yea, sure, we knew he was taking Xanax. You know, like I said, you can’t watch a kid 24/7.”
Billingsley says Anthony got himself into some trouble, but he was a loving kid who would do anything for anybody.
“He impacted everyone he touched,” said Billingsley. “I don’t want people to take a look at him and say ‘that’s the dope kid,’ you know, he’s not. I don’t want any parent to go through what we’re going through because it hurts.”
We’re still waiting to hear from the coroner’s office on Spence’s official cause of his death.