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A vibrant life, a nightclub trip, a sudden end

N.H. family mourns loss of 19-year-old woman

Brittany Flannigan

Pinkerton Academy yearbook photo

Brittany Flannigan

DERRY, N.H. — Brittany Flannigan was excited about traveling to Boston with her sister and friends to attend Tuesday night’s Zedd concert at the House of Blues.

“She liked his songs,” said Mariah Marnie, a 17-year-old senior at Pinkerton Academy, where Flannigan had also gone to school.

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Flannigan told Marnie she would pick her up Wednesday afternoon. But Marnie’s close friend never returned, dying of an apparent overdose at the Boston club where Zedd, a popular German electro-dance music producer and disc jockey, was kicking off the first night of his world tour.

“I was in complete shock, no words to describe how I felt,” Marnie said as she walked through the student parking lot after school Thursday.

Flannigan, 19, who was about to start her sophomore year at Plymouth State University, was one of three people who apparently overdosed early Wednesday morning on MDMA, commonly called Molly, a pure form of ecstasy that has become prevalent at electro-dance concerts.

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Robert Merner, commander of the Boston Police Department’s Drug Control Unit, held a press conference Thursday night to discuss the dangers of the increasingly popular drug.

“This is something that’s an emerging trend.” he said. “It’s clearly in the mainstream. I’ve spent the past 36 hours talking with young people and they’re all well aware of it.”

Merner said Molly is inexpensive, easy to ingest, and in Boston is most commonly used by people between the ages of 18 and 24.

Merner declined to comment on the ongoing investigation of the apparent overdoses.

Results from a toxicology test on Flannigan’s body is expected to take about two weeks, said Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

The House of Blues was closed Wednesday night out of respect for Flannigan. Jay Anderson — spokesman for Live Nation, which owns the nightclub — said it reopened Thursday.

The city’s Licensing Board has indicated it will request a hearing with the management next week to discuss the events surrounding Flannigan’s death and two additional overdoses at the club that left a 24-year-old woman and a man in his 20s in serious condition. The three did not know each other, authorities said.

No charges have been issued against the business, which uses wristbands to distinguish underage patrons from those of drinking age at events like Tuesday’s concert, which was restricted to people 18 and over.

In the small town where Flannigan grew up, family friends came to her home Thursday to offer condolences, and the academy provided grief counseling.

Flannigan’s friends and former teachers remembered her as a young woman who always smiled and had an exceptional way with people.

“I’ve known her for a couple of years,” said Stephen Kirby, 17, a senior. “She was such a good girl; she didn’t do any wrong to anybody, a great person. And it’s devastating to see somebody with such a good image and a good future ahead of her have to go so soon.”

Kirby said Flannigan “was like any other normal high school girl; she did go to parties.” But she was not known to get drunk or do drugs, he said. “She did her thing, liked to have fun.”

Flannigan graduated last year from the academy, a semiprivate school with about 3,100 students who come from four area towns.

She was an honor roll student and a member of the JLU Club, which stands for Just Like Us. Club members work with disabled people, helping them participate in activities such as sports and cookouts.

Joe Dion, who taught Flannigan in a senior English course two years ago, described her as a hard worker.

“We would talk about things after class a lot, and she worked really hard on her writing.” he said. “. . . She would come to me and just talk about stuff. She was just very personable and she really connected well with people. That’s one of the things I remember very fondly of her.”

Dion said his son told him Wednesday about her death.

“Obviously it’s tragic for anyone, but for someone who was so sweet and cared about people, it’s certainly a lot harder,” he said.

Jennifer Brown, a family and consumer sciences teacher, had Flannigan in her advanced foods and in her foods and nutrition classes.

She described her as a “nice kid, very quiet, hard worker, great smile, got along well with her peers, just a really nice kid to have in class.”

Brown said her strongest memories of Flannigan were her recent conversations with the graduate at the Hannaford Supermarket in Londonderry, where Flannigan worked.

“I would see her as I went through, checking things out, and we’d always have a nice conversation, see how things were going,” Brown said. “She was always very pleasant, no indication there was anything to be worried about. I was questioning whether they had the right kid.”

Headmaster Mary A. Anderson called Flannigan’s death “heartbreaking.’’

“Following graduation 14 short months ago, this popular, academically solid student pursued a degree at Plymouth State University,’’ Anderson said in a statement. “Her untimely death is tragic and heartbreaking. ‘’

Anderson extended sympathy to Flannigan’s family and friends.

“Brittany, you are in the hearts and prayers of the entire Pinkerton community,’’ she said.

Several cars were parked Thursday morning on the long driveway leading to the two-
level home where Flannigan grew up, in a neighborhood thickly wooded, with expansive yards outside most residences.

A woman who answered the front door at Flannigan’s address and identified herself as a close family friend said investigators have contacted the family and would be speaking with them.

No funeral arrangements have been made as Flannigan’s body remains with medical examiners in Boston, she said.

“They’re totally devastated by all this and won’t be making any sort of statement at the moment,” the woman said.

According to a police report, staff at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center performed CPR on Flannigan but were unable to revive her early Wednesday morning.

The male victim struggled violently with other hospital staff members when he arrived at the hospital. Police had hoped to obtain information from him, but were unable to do so given his condition, according to the police report.

An emergency room nurse told officers she had found two pink pills in the right jean pocket of the surviving female victim and a small packet of a white powder substance in her bra. The 24-year-old woman was unconscious when she arrived, the police report said.

The substances were turned in as evidence, and the woman received a summons to appear in Roxbury District Court for possession of Class B and E drugs.

John R. Ellement of the Globe staff and Globe correspondent Derek J. Anderson contributed to this report. Brian Ballou can be reached at bballou@
globe.com
. Follow him on Twitter at @globeballou.
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