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'We miss him everyday' | Family grateful after suspect charged in Indianapolis father's overdose death

Jonathan Spurling is charged with dealing a controlled substance after a DEA investigation into Jason Platipodis' death.

INDIANAPOLIS — A Valparaiso man is facing charges, accused of selling fentanyl-laced drugs to an Indianapolis father that led to his death.

Jonathan Spurling is charged with dealing a controlled substance after a DEA investigation into the death of Jason Platipodis in January 2022. 

Jason's family says they're glad to see law enforcement hold the person responsible to account. 

"It's been a pretty tough year," said Jeff Platipodis, Jason's brother. 

For the past 14 months, Jason's family has been grieving. Jeff said Jason was a good brother and a great dad. 

"He was a good guy, a hard worker, excellent carpenter, smart, loved his daughter so much," Jeff said. 

Jeff said Jason struggled with addiction for years. For the past five years, he had been clean and sober. Then, last January, court paperwork shows Jason arranged to meet with a dealer, buying what he thought was heroin. The drugs contained a lethal dose of fentanyl. 

Credit: Platipodis family photo

Jeff said he believes he brother would never purposely have bought or taken anything with fentanyl in it. 

"No. No clue. I think maybe if he would have known that he would have changed his mind on that," said Jeff. 

In January last year, Jason overdosed and died soon after taking the drugs. His 6-year-old daughter found him, calling 911. Spurling, the man accused of selling him the fentanyl-laced drugs, is facing charges.

Mike Gannon, assistant special agent in charge with the DEA of Indianapolis, said proving a case like this is tough, but it's necessary in the agency's ongoing fight to get fentanyl off the streets. 

"It's very scary times and we definitely want to make a difference. When you have opportunities to make cases like this that are challenging cases, people do need to be held accountable for doing that because they're destroying people's lives and families," Gannon said. 

Drug overdoses, especially from fentanyl, are a massive problem around the country and here in Indianapolis. In 2021, drug overdoses killed 107,000 people.

In Marion County alone, 826 people died from an overdose. According to the DEA, 641 of those deaths were due to fentanyl.

"And it's just way too many people that are dying. And when you look at what happened in this instance, it's devastating when you have a 6-year-old girl that had to find her father dead because of a drug overdose, so our hearts go out to people that lose loved ones," Gannon said. 

One year later, Jeff said he and the family are still struggling with Jason's death.

"We miss him every day," Jeff said. "No parent should have to go what my mom and dad have had to go through with this and the rest of the family. And especially no 6-year-old girl should have to witness something like that."

But, he said says his family will be pushing for justice every day for Jason, grateful to see law enforcement holding his killer accountable.

Spurling is expected in court Monday morning. 

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