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Mystery Surrounds Sudden Death Of N.J. Teenager David Wagner

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N.J. high school freshman David Wagner, 15, died suddenly just days after reporting that he felt ill. (Credit: CBS 2)

N.J. high school freshman David Wagner, 15, died suddenly just days after reporting that he felt ill. (Credit: CBS 2)

Christine Sloan thumbnail Christine Sloan
Emmy-award winning journalist Christine Sloan joined CBS 2 News in...
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FAIRVIEW, N.J. (CBS 2) — A New Jersey community was in shock after a teenager reported feeling ill and then suddenly died.

A mother who had gone through too much grief buried her only son Thursday just after losing her husband and father. David Wagner, a 15-year-old freshman at Hudson Catholic High School in Jersey City, died suddenly last week.

“He told us some of us that he wasn’t feeling well; he left school on Wednesday. Then he was at the hospital, and he was like, ‘I’ll be back on Monday,’” friend Layla Martinez said. “That’s the hardest thing – he was fine, and all of a sudden, now he’s gone.”

Wagner’s death remains a mystery. While autopsy results haven’t been released, school officials said he went home with an ear infection.

What was clear, though, was how much teachers and fellow students cared for him.

“I loved him with every bit of heart that I have left,” friend Mariam Foohey said. “I loved him a lot.”

“That’s pretty much how you can explain him – he cared for everybody,” another friend said.

Wagner was a musician and a star in his school’s drama program, cast as Candy Man – the main Oompa Loompa – in their version of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

“We plan to have a moment of silence right before the play, and half of the money the play is planning to go to the family,” friend Anton Steiger said.

Teachers told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan that Wagner was unique.

“He was one of those students that people just gravitated to, because he had a sense of life,” one teacher said. “I am hearing stories about when he used to go home on the bus, he used to shake the bus driver’s hand.”

“You could not be around David without being happy. He brought so much joy to everyone,” Wagner’s godmother said. “He will be so missed. He’s now an angel in heaven.”

Fellow students in Wagner’s drama program said they plan on holding a memorial service before rehearsals on Monday.

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