Pubdate: Wed, 11 Jan 2017
Source: Philadelphia Daily News (PA)
Copyright: 2017 Philadelphia Newspapers Inc.
Author: Stephanie Farr


[photo] (ED HILLE / Staff Photographer) William McMonigle and Amy Zaccario
of Havertown, who both lost their fathers to heroin overdoses in
Philadelphia, are now planning the funeral of their best friend, Sean
Jimenez, who died of a heroin overdose in Kensington on Monday.

At home in Jenkintown, Sean Jimenez had a decent job, a woman who loved
him, and two young sons who bore a striking resemblance to Dennis the
Menace, just as he did when he was little.


But Monday night on a Kensington sidewalk, Jimenez had nothing but the
clothes on his back, a few dollars in his pocket, a cellphone, and a drug
addiction that apparently took his life. He was pronounced dead there at
11:10 p.m.

Jimenez, 42, known as "Pooky," was among 35 people who the Medical
Examiner's Office now says died of apparent drug overdoses in Philadelphia
between Dec. 1 and Monday.

The ODs may have resulted from heroin cut with a synthetic opioid like
fentanyl or from purer heroin than the users were accustomed to,
authorities said.

On Tuesday night, Jimenez's best friend, William McMonigle, who had known
him since they were boys on a Manayunk playground, sat down with Jimenez's
sons, ages 6 and 12, and told them their father was dead.

"It was important for me to hug his kids and whisper to them, 'I'll always
be there for you,' " said McMonigle, 45.

The 6-year-old knows only that his daddy is in heaven, but the 12-year-old
understands how it happened. So McMonigle took the older boy aside and
shared that his own father had died of a heroin overdose 22 years ago.

"I had to tell his 12-year-old my story, so he didn't think he was alone,"
McMonigle said.

Now McMonigle and longtime girlfriend Amy Zaccario - who lost her father
to a heroin OD in 2006 - are planning Jimenez's funeral, the Havertown
couple said Thursday.

"Here's two people who vowed never to touch heroin, but here heroin is
touching us," McMonigle said.

Zaccario, who attended Roxborough High School with Jimenez and met
McMonigle through him, also lamented that she and her boyfriend keep
losing loved ones to the drug.

"It's destroying us," she said. "We argue with people we know. We fight
with them. We tell them our story. But nothing makes a difference."

'We were inseparable'

Adopted as a child, Jimenez grew up in Manayunk, where he would hang out
with McMonigle and about 40 other boys at Wissahickon Neighbors Park.

"We did everything together. We were inseparable," McMonigle said. "We
were like Tom and Jerry, or Batman and Robin."

After graduating from Roxborough High, Jimenez started a career in
furniture sales, which he loved, McMonigle said.

Smart, headstrong, and argumentative, Jimenez was a "Mr. Know-It-All" who
read the Daily News religiously and would take on anyone in an argument
about the Eagles, the couple said.

A few years ago, Jimenez was prescribed pain pills after an accident, but
when the prescription ran out, he resorted to buying $5 bags of heroin
about four times a week to ease the withdrawal, McMonigle said. He always
snorted the drug instead of injecting it, his friend said.

"He never shot it ever in his life. He hated people who shot it,"
McMonigle said. "He used to think he was better than them. I told him,
'You aren't.' "

Despite his addiction, Jimenez kept a job, his girlfriend, and their two

"He was an absolute functioning addict," McMonigle said. "He worked, he
came home, he gave his check to his girl, and got a bagger for $5."

Last year, Jimenez and his girlfriend moved their family to Jenkintown to
get their children into a better school district.

He lost his job, then went door to door seeking work. About three months
ago, a Jenkintown tavern hired him as a cook, McMonigle said.

'A bad bag'

Shortly before his death, Jimenez told McMonigle that his dealer in
Kensington had said the elephant tranquilizer carfentanil was being mixed
with heroin in Philadelphia.

But Jimenez wasn't worried. He believed that dealers never cut $5 bags
with other drugs.

"He thought his dealer would never do him wrong," Zaccario said. "They all
go down there thinking their dealer isn't going to give them a bad bag."

No ID was found on Jimenez, McMonigle said, so the Medical Examiner's
Office left messages on Tuesday for people saved in his cellphone, which
is how his girlfriend and friends found out.

"I said, 'How . . . do you know it's him? How do you know that somebody
didn't steal his phone?' " he said. "They asked me if I'd be able to
identify an orange 'Homies' hat. I bought that hat for him two weeks ago,
so I knew it was him."

Jimenez's adoptive mother died last year, so McMonigle and Zaccario have
taken on the cost and planning of the funeral. A GoFundMe account they set
up to help pay for it had reached $975 toward its $3,000 goal by Thursday

After the funeral, McMonigle said, several friends will return to the
Manayunk playground.

"We're going to play a Wiffle ball game and we're going to fill the ball
with his ashes and blast him off," McMonigle said.

Staff writer Don Sapatkin contributed to this article.
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