By Betsy Webster
CLINTON, Mo. (KCTV/CNN) - The death of a 12-year-old Missouri girl may be linked to a pain patch that belonged to her grandmother.
A cross in the front lawn of Destiny Spitler's home marks a significant and sudden loss.
The girl's grandma, who didn't want to appear on camera, described Destiny as loving, giving, and caring.
"She loved to sing. She sang all the time. But apparently she was a very curious little girl that we didn't realize," said Diana Spitler.
Diana uses fentanyl, a powerful pain patch, to manage her back pain. When Destiny died in her sleep Saturday morning, investigators found one on her thigh.
What prompted the 12-year-old to affix it is unclear, but her grandmother says Destiny pulled it from the trash.
"It was a patch that was from last Tuesday. And she put it on," said Diana.
"You've gotta dispose of it properly," said Dr. Stephen Thornton.
Dr. Thornton says he's seen many cases where kids have overdosed on a patch tossed in the trash, sometimes thinking it's a sticker.
"Once you use that patch and you take it off, it still has about 50 percent of the fentanyl that was started with," he said.
That's why it's important to consider not just how you store this stuff, but also how you dispose of it. It's something destiny's grandma didn't know, and something she wants others to hear.
"Mothers, fathers, aunts, parents, anybody that wears these dang patches, dispose of them, fold them up in tiny little pieces and flush them down the stool so your babies won't be like mine," said Diana.
Police are investigating to see if the pain patch was the cause of the child's death or if it was an interaction with a prescription medication she was taking.