Principal releases statement to school community about teen who died at Columbia concert

Daniel Anders died after Mad Decent Block Party

Daniel Anders was a rising senior at C.D. Hylton Senior High in Woodbridge, Virginia.

His life was cut short by a possible drug overdose at a music festival at Columbia’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. He was one of two attendees of the Mad Decent Block Party concert two die from what officials believed was a drug-related illness.

C.D. Hylton principal David J. Cassady, Jr.said Anders was a member of the Hylton Troubadours and an important part of the school communities, in a letter sent out to parents Tuesday evening.

“Our Hylton family sends heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Daniel Anders, one of our rising seniors. We are deeply saddened and will miss Daniel very much,” reads a message posted to the school’s website.


In his letter, Cassady urged parents to pay attention to their children’s emotional needs. The school meanwhile is offering help from its Student Services Critical Response Team.

Read the letter in full:

Dear Hylton Family:

As you may know, our school community experienced tragedy on Sunday with the passing of Daniel Anders. A rising senior, Daniel was a member of the Hylton Troubadours Choir and an important part of the Hylton High School Community.

This is a difficult time for our community, and particularly for Daniel's friends and classmates. Our Student Services Critical Response Team was on hand Monday morning to assist choir members in dealing with their grief at a previously scheduled rehearsal and will also be available on Tuesday, August 5 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at Hylton High School. Staff members are available to help others who need to talk or need help in dealing with the loss. Please contact our Counseling Center should you need assistance at 703.580.4067.

You may want to pay particular attention to your student's emotional needs during the next few days and weeks, especially if he/she was close to Daniel. A few suggestions to help include:

1. Encourage your child to talk with you about feelings he/she experiences concerning Daniel's death. Sharing similar experiences which you have had may be useful. Let your child know that you are available to talk about the incident and to answer questions.

2. Be aware that your student may not feel like "business as usual" for a while. Talk about ways to recover over time.

3. Initiate a discussion with your student. Research shows that this type of discussion and sharing helps the healing process.

4. If your student expresses a desire to attend the funeral or to participate in a memorial service, it is strongly suggested that you accompany them.

5. Watch for ongoing signs of difficulty which could indicate that your student may need additional help.  Some of the signs include: prolonged sadness, withdrawal from social contact, changes in eating or sleeping habits, or other behaviors unusual for your student.

A candlelight vigil for Daniel is planned for Wednesday August 6, at 7 p.m. We will plan to meet at the front of Hylton High School. Participation may well be helpful in helping students deal with their emotions.

Please contact the school if we can be of assistance in any way. Our counselors can provide additional information on school and community resources.


David J. Cassady, Jr.


Tyler Viscardi, a 20-year-old North Carolina man, also died from what officials believe was a drug-related illness at the concert in Howard County. 

Viscardi's family believes he was poisoned by "toxic water" given to him by another concertgoer.

Merriweather Post Pavilion officials issued a statement in response the 20 total concert attendees who had to be treated medically for drugs consumed during the concert. Read the statement here


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