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Stamford family mourns after unexpected death of teenager: ‘It wasn’t his time’

STAMFORD – Djmayley Vernet, a former Stamford High School football player who died last week aged 16, wanted to support his family so “no one would struggle, everyone would be fine,” said his cousin on Friday.

Instead, after the first day of his first part-time job, Vernet suffered a series of seizures. He was rushed to hospital, apparently recovered – and then died last Saturday.

“It’s a horrible impact, honestly – left a hole in our family. He was only 16,” Noldylens Metayer said. “He was a good boy. It was not his time to leave.

Vernet was smart, Metayer said – during his elementary school years, his parents refused the suggestion that he skip class, preferring to keep him with his classmates and allow him to learn whatever he could – and devoted to his family, hoping to provide for them in the years to come.

On Aug. 3, Vernet trained for his first part-time job, a role at Burlington Coat Factory, Metayer said. He then went home and fell asleep. His brother later heard noises, then entered the room to see Vernet grabbing.

The family called the police; Vernet was taken to hospital, suffering other seizures along the way, Metayer said. He was placed in an induced coma and then airlifted to Yale New Haven Hospital.

By August 5, Metayer said, Vernet had apparently recovered — he was awake and talking, joking with his friends from the Church of God By Faith youth group in Fairfield, who had come to see him. But, once again affected, he died the next day.

The cause of Vernet’s illness and death remains unknown, Metayer said. The episode was a shock, he said, because seizures don’t run in their family.

Metayer noted that the youth group is fundraising in the family’s name on GoFundMe. He asked for help, noting the cost of hospital treatment, especially the helicopter ride.

“Djemay was preparing to enter his first year of high school, a year full of decisions and exploration. He was too young,” the members of the youth group wrote in the tribute on the GoFundMe page. “We come here to ask for financial assistance with our brother’s medical bills and funeral expenses.”

Vernet is survived by his parents, Serge and Iverna Vernet, and his younger brother, Schmael, according to the youth group.

“He was the sweetest boy. Djemayley will forever be in our hearts, he will forever be in his parents’ hearts and he will forever be in the hearts of his little brother Schmael,” the post read. “We thank you for your support and ask that you send prayers to the Vernet family.”

In the years to come, Metayer said he will be there for Schmael and strive to create more memories with his loved ones.

For him, he said, the death of his cousin had illuminated the precariousness of life. He urged others to make sure they “value your time with your family”.

“It was very unexpected. It was very shocking,” Metayer said. “I think about it every second of the day. It kills me… Why him?

william.lambert@hearstmediact.com

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