By Ryan Harris
RINGGOLD, Ga. -- The father of a 16-year-old boy who died from alcohol poisoning said he hopes his family's tragedy can remind other teenagers to avoid substance abuse and tragedies of their own.
"I hope all the other kids around the Chattanooga area see what happened," said Robert Tucker, whose son, Cory Dewayne Tucker, died Sunday.
"Other kids, hopefully, learned from this," the distraught father said.
A neighbor, Richard Allen Bryant Jr., 26, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and five counts of providing alcohol to a minor for allegedly supplying liquor to a group of minors. He is being held in the Catoosa County Detention Center, and no bond has been set.
Catoosa County Sheriff Phil Summers said it is suspected that alcohol was provided to children as young as 11 years old.
He said five other minors apparently were drinking in an outbuilding behind a home on Carroll Drive in Catoosa County along with Cory Tucker.
The teen was found lying face down on the floor Sunday morning, and his friends could not rouse him, the sheriff said.
"This incident is sad for the families and difficult to understand that an adult would furnish alcohol to minors," Sheriff Summers said.
He said police "constantly answer calls" to the neighborhood, and investigators are working to determine if any other adults should face charges.
"It's a constant thing for the sheriff's office to have to deal with young people up there," Sheriff Summers said. "At some point, law enforcement can just do so much. It takes families to get involved."
Robert Tucker said his son and his friends frequently visited the neighbor's outbuilding to play video games, but he never suspected his son was abusing alcohol.
Mr. Tucker said his son was always prompt with his chores, made good grades at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School and was recommended for the Governor's Honor Program.
"I never smelled alcohol on his breath," Mr. Tucker said. "You always think it will never happen at your house, but now it's happening at mine."
Mr. Byrant's mother, Johnnie Sue Bryant, said her son had purchased liquor on Saturday to celebrate his 26th birthday.
She said her son didn't know minors were drinking until he awoke the next morning and found Cory Tucker dead.
Ms. Bryant said her son was admired by neighborhood children, and he is "tore up inside" over Cory Tucker's death.
"I feel for the parents," Ms. Bryant said. "My son is in jail, and I feel like I'm going to lose him. But my loss is nothing compared to theirs, and I can't even tell them I'm sorry."
Additional counselors have been at Lakeview-Fort Ogle-thorpe High School this week to help students cope with the teenager's death, officials said.
Cadets from the school's ROTC program will provide special services at Cory's funeral today, said retired Lt. Col. Paul Harwart.
Cory was platoon leader of his ROTC company and was being considered for company commander, Mr. Harwart said.
"He's the kind of kid that would light up a room," Mr. Harwart said. "Everyone liked Cory."
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