Bartow Co. mother has strong message for drug dealer found guilty of murdering her teenage son

BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. — A man was convicted of killing a teen with a powerful drug this past week in Bartow County. On Thursday, we spoke to the teen’s mother.

On WSB Tonight at 11 p.m., for the first time, Channel 2′s Justin Wilfon spoke with Amber Corbin, the mother of 16-year-old Gabriel, who died after a drug dealer gave her son Fentanyl.

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In June of 2021, she says drug dealer Erik Ovalle gave her son Gabriel a lethal dose of Fentanyl when he thought he was buying something else. Last Friday, a Bartow County jury convicted Ovalle.

“If his conviction could stop one more child from dying, one more family from having to go through what we’ve gone through, then maybe his death meant something,” said Corbin.

But she is not satisfied with only a guilty verdict; she is now on a mission to save other teens’ lives, and she has a strong message for parents and drug dealers selling the deadly drug.

“For him, I have nothing but anger, and that’s, to put it mildly. He knew what he was doing. He took advantage of a child, and he murdered my son,” Corbin said.

Corbin said she believes her son bought drugs from Ovalle to help self-medicate his mental health issues in the weeks following his death. But then, one day, she says Ovalle lied to her son Gabriel and gave him nearly pure Fentanyl when he thought he was buying something else.

”His conviction is hopefully going to send a message to these drug dealers,” said Corbin. “They’re predators. They’re not dealers, and they’re preying on our children.”

Gabriel died hours after taking the drug.


More than a year and a half later, the family still struggles. But now, by sharing her story for the first time, Corbin hopes she can help prevent other parents from feeling her pain.

She hopes this sends a warning to other dealers and that parents will keep a closer eye on their children, even if it means not trusting them.

“Don’t trust anybody. Don’t even trust your own child because what they say is not necessarily the truth,” said Corbin. “Be in their lives, be present. And if they’re going through the hard times, do what it takes.”

Wilfon also spoke with one of the prosecutors in the case, who hopes people pay attention to this particular case.

Assistant District Attorney Erle Newton told Wilfon that this is happening way too often in Georgia, and he hopes this sends a warning to other dealers.

Ovalle is set to return to court for sentencing on March 27, and he could face life behind bars.

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