Detectives investigate teenage boy's possible drug-related fall from building

Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center mourns 14-year-old boy's death

By Liane Morejon - Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - The relatives and friends of a 14-year-old boy who died while acting erratically in Miami Beach were in mourning Thursday night at the National Funeral Home in Miami's Little Havana. 

Marlon Cardenas, a Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center student, fell from the 17th floor of the 1800 Collins Avenue condominium building in Miami Beach. He was pronounced dead about 10 p.m. Sunday, according to Miami-Dade County medical examiner records.

"He was kindhearted and had a smile that would always brighten your day," teacher Maylee Costa wrote in a GoFundMe account that raised nearly $13,000 to help his family deal with the funeral expenses. 

Marlon's friend, Paul Benedicto, attended the Thursday service. The eighth-grade student said he was still in shock. He said he and his friends had access to grief counselors at the Ruth K. Broad Bay Harbor K-8 Center. There are still questions about his death. 

"It's, like, really sad," Benedicto said. 

A teenage boy, who lives in the building, told Miami Beach Police Department officers he had been with Marlon and another friend on Lincoln Road before they went to the apartment and Marlon "began to act crazy," according to a heavily-redacted police report released Thursday night. 

The teenage boy said Marlon appeared to be under the substance of a drug when he took off his clothes and walked down the hall. Researchers with the National Institute on Drug Abuse said high doses of recreational stimulants can raise body temperature. 

Mariana Lima and Christopher Knight told police officers they were in the building when they heard someone yelling "LSD" in the hallway of the 17th floor, and they both heard things being thrown around and breaking.

Lester Massiglia told police officers Marlon crashed into his apartment's door, fell down, stood up and walked to the emergency stairwell, which has a small balcony railing. None of the four witnesses mentioned in the police report said they saw if Marlon jumped or if the fall was accidental.

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