‘They were flat-out poisoned’

Daisy Joy Bankofier and Katrina Joy hold the portraits of Adam and Clifford Joy in Minden on Thursday.

Daisy Joy Bankofier and Katrina Joy hold the portraits of Adam and Clifford Joy in Minden on Thursday.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Four people who died in a South Lake Tahoe home after a Super Bowl Party appeared to have been poisoned by cocaine cut with fentanyl.

A memorial service for Carson Valley brothers 37-year-old Clifford and 35-year-old Adam Joy was last weekend at LifePoint Church. Services for Abraham Lemus, 32, and Keely Pereira, 33, are this week.

“They were flat-out poisoned and murdered,” according to Clifford and Adam’s mother Minden resident Daisy Joy Bankofier.

Joy Bankofier and Clifford Joy’s wife Katrina sat down with The Record-Courier on Thursday morning to talk about the deaths.

Katrina said she and Clifford went to the home in the 500 block of Roger Avenue on Feb. 11 to watch the game.

“Toward the end of the night, they decided to pick up a bag of cocaine,” she said. “I had fallen asleep while they were gone.”

When she woke up the next morning on Feb. 12 she found Pereira down and started CPR. That’s when she saw that her husband had also succumbed.

“There was one other person in the house who was alert and kind of OK, so I asked him to do CPR on Keely while I did CPR on Cliff,” she said. “I had not partaken and was the only one who was OK.”

Rescuers responded quickly and took over.

“They were there so fast, it was amazing,” Katrina said.

A bag of white powder was still sitting on the table, she said.

“That’s what they bought, obviously, and was still completely full,” she said. “The officer grabbed it right away and tested it and said it had almost 20 percent fentanyl. I’m a nurse, so I know you can’t come back from that.”

Both women said none of the people in the house were regular users.

“They’re not drug addicts,” Katrina said. “They’re not even regular users. They just made a bad choice in a moment of wanting to have a little fun with kind of a socially acceptable party drug. Unfortunately this one cost a lot more than most people realize that it can.”

Joy stressed that something like what happened at the home could happen anywhere.

“People need to know that this doesn’t just happen to people we write off as junkies or druggies,” Katrina said.  “It’s affecting people who try it just once.”

Both women said that none of the people in the house would have used the drug had they known the danger.

“This was a fentanyl poisoning, not a fentanyl overdose,” Katrina said.

Joy Bankofier thanked everyone for all the support they’ve offered in the aftermath of the deaths.

“We had a really beautiful tribute for the boys,” she said. “All four of them were beautiful, productive, loved, and embraced members of our community here and South Lake Tahoe.”

Joy Bankofier said she could talk about her sons at length, but felt it was more important to warn people of the danger.

“People have to realize that it’s not safe anymore, and that’s the biggest thing we need to take away from this,” she said. “I’m trying to find some good out of this. Because of the impact of the four of them dying together has brought some attention to this. Maybe we can make some changes as a community and put our foot down and say no more.”

She said she would be happy to tell people just not to use street drugs but acknowledged that’s not how things work.

“I know there are test strips,” she said. “If you know someone and know they use, buy them some test strips and say ‘I wish you would stop, but I know you’re not, so think of Adam, think of Cliff, think of Abe, think of Keely.’”

Joy Bankofier said that she’s met many people who’ve lost a loved one to fentanyl, but it generally flies under the radar.

“We don’t talk about it,” she said. “The one thing we can do from this massive tragedy is bring it to the attention of the community.”

Clifford and Katrina had just become grandparents thanks to their oldest of three children.

“Cliff never got to hold her,” Joy Bankofier said. “There are so many gut wrenching things in their lives. They were such beautiful humans and it’s completely unfair.”

Katrina agreed.

“We just need to spread the awareness that this could happen to so many people, right now,” she said.

In a postscript to Thursday’s conversation, Joy Bankofier shared a prayer.

“The miracles that have fallen before our eyes since my boys passed is truly incomprehensible,” Joy Bankofier said. “He is so merciful. He allows us to feel and connect with them simply because he loves us. God is so good. The veil is so thin between this world and the kingdom of God. My boys have opened so many eyes to this. I am humbled and so blessed to have been their momma.”

You can help

A fundraiser for Clifford Joy has raised $21,745 from 207 donations since it was put up on Valentine’s Day. You can donate by visiting www.gofundme.com/f/clifford-joy


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