DR. RUDORFER:  Thank you.

              We are to speaker 57.

                            Jeff Avery

            MR. AVERY: Hello.  My name is Jeff Avery.

             My 16-year-old stepson, Brandon Ferris,

   committed suicide on July 22nd, 2001, about three

   weeks after he began taking Zoloft.  Brandon was a

   bright and socially outgoing teen who got along

   well with others.  He was a black-belt instructor

   in Tai Kwon Do, active in the church's youth group,

   and held a part-time job.

             His mother home-schooled Brandon and

   worked at the Tai Kwon Do School, so she was very

   active in Brandon's activities.

             In June of 2001, Brandon expressed that he

   was feeling down, and not his usual energetic self.

   It was decided that he should take some time off

   and see a counselor.
             The counselor suggested that he see a

   doctor.  The doctor, who found no physical

   problems, prescribed Zoloft.

             Sunday, July 22nd, Brandon and I went to

   church.  On the way home Brandon volunteered to

   make a cake for his mother's birthday.  He asked

   permission to go on a boating trip.  He spent the

   rest of the day with his friends and an older

   brother Randy.

             When he came home from his youth group

   meeting at 9:15, he seemed fine.  At 9:45 he asked

   his mother about the boating trip.  At 10:30 he

   went to check his e-mail, but his brother was using

   the computer.  At 11 o'clock, he was found in his

   room hung by the neck from a belt in his closet.

   We called 911, we performed CPR to no avail.  He

   was pronounced dead at the hospital.

             Reflecting on the day's events, I could

   not detect any indication of forethought to

   suicide.  However, later conversations with others

   close to Brandon inferred that he may have been

   having problems with the medication.

             The obvious question is what happened in

   Brandon's mind between 10:30 and 10:45.

             This was not the end of unspeakable

   tragedy.  Five months later, Barbara, unable to

   cope with the loss of her youngest son, took her


             Since then I have collaborated with

   Brandon's biological father, Dan Ferris, to obtain

   information that would point to the cause of

   Brandon's death.  We believe, after having done

   much research, that the drug Zoloft had a causal

   effect in Brandon's final actions.

             Thank you.