• All students were girls aged between 16 and 17
  • The third girl, a 17-year-old student, has since been released from hospital
  • She was charged as a juvenile with murder and possession of a controlled substance

Two teenage girls died at a Tennessee high school and a third one was hospitalized after a possible drug overdose, authorities said.

Fayette County Sheriff's Office received reports from Fayette-Ware High School in Somerville on Tuesday that two students were found not breathing, Chief Deputy R. Garcia said. The incident was reported hours before the school's graduation ceremony. Upon reaching the school, officials found two students dead in the parking lot near the school. A third student was found unconscious and was taken to hospital, Miami Herald reported.

All students were girls aged between 16 and 17.

"We can confirm that there were three students involved. All young ladies were completing their junior year at Fayette-Ware Comprehensive High School, one 16 while the others were 17," Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Versie R. Hamlett said in a Facebook post Wednesday.

The third girl, a 17-year-old student, has since been released from the hospital and is in stable condition. She was charged as a juvenile with two counts of second-degree murder and possession of a controlled substance, said Mark Davidson, the attorney general for the 25th Judicial District. Investigators believe she was friends with the other two students, based on text messages and social media accounts.

"This case is tragic. It's terrible," NBC News quoted Davidson as saying. "And unfortunately, it highlights what we've been telling the public ... about the dangers of fentanyl, how lethal it is and how prevalent it is becoming, and that if you buy any drug on the street, whether you think it's meth or cocaine or a pressed pill ... it very well may contain fentanyl, and it very well might kill you."

While fentanyl is suspected to be the reason for the death of two students, the medical examiner still has to confirm the cause and manner of their deaths.

"We are currently investigating two juveniles found deceased at Fayette-Ware Comprehensive High School as a possible drug overdose," the sheriff's office said on Facebook. "No further information can be released at this time. We do ask that you keep the family members of these victims active in your prayers."

Though authorities have not released the names of the victims, one of the girls who died was identified by her father as 16-year-old Alyssa Thorne.

"She had a lot of hopes and dreams, man that is now just a dream," Mark Thorne told WREG.

Meanwhile, the graduation ceremony took place as scheduled and all students and teachers observed a moment of silence for the victims.

Terming it a "terrible tragedy," the schools superintendent said the officials are working closely with the sheriff's department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in their probe.

"As we continue to support the investigation, we are also focusing on supporting the various needs of our students and staff that are experiencing loss and grief," Hamlett added.

Drug overdose frolicsomepl, Pixabay