By Mike Rush
Arnold, MO (KSDK) - Smiling. That's what 18-year-old Joey Dalton's parents said he was doing just about all the time.
But early Tuesday morning, "We heard a shot and he shot himself in the basement," said Joey's mother, Sharon.
"I was just so upset I was still trying to wake him up thinking, you know, I could wake him up. And I was trying to feel his pulse," said his father Tom.
Joey killed himself, leaving behind the 8-month-old son he adored. His parents say Joey, who they say had never exhibited suicidal tendencies, was moody in recent months. They believe it was because of synthetic marijuana.
Just days before his death, Tom says his son confessed to him.
"He said, 'dad, I think I'm hooked on it, I can't stop.'"
"I know in his right mind he never would have done this, never would have done this," said Sharon.
Missouri outlawed the synthetic pot called K-2, last year, but in a recent NewsChannel 5 Cover Story we found several versions of the new breed in convenience stores and gas stations throughout the metro St. Louis area.
One head shop worker explained at the time on our undercover camera how it happens.
"Then they made K-3 and K-4 which removed the chemicals and other things that were illegal, adding different chemicals, which makes it completely legal again," said the worker.
Jason Grellner is a Franklin County drug investigator and president of Missouri Narcotics Officers Association. He said the new versions, although legal, are just as dangerous.
"We have kids that are, I'm sad to say, committing suicide, that are paranoid, that are showing up in emergency rooms delusional, schizophrenic," said Grellner.
"What's it going to take? How many kids have to die before they get this off the market," asked Sharon.
Grellner said, later this month, the governor is expected to sign a new bill that will close that loop-hole and effectively prevent -any- version of synthetic marijuana from being legal.
In the meantime, the Daltons want parents to talk to their kids, and look for this stuff in their own homes.