Authorities investigating fatal overdoses

Efforts to contain the deadly effects of heroin and other drugs have gotten off to a grim start in 2015 with law enforcement agencies investigating three suspected or confirmed drug overdose deaths in the area since Jan. 1.

Virginia State Police Special Agent Jay Perry said the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force has counted two heroin-related overdose deaths in Shenandoah County and one in Clarke County already this year. The deaths in Shenandoah County equal the total number of heroin overdose fatalities reported in the county in 2014. No overdose deaths were recorded in Clarke County in 2014.

Law enforcement officials in Shenandoah County said they were still investigating suspected or confirmed drug overdose deaths and awaiting laboratory and autopsy results before making specific determinations on the causes of the deaths.

Maj. Scott Proctor of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office said Alvin David Mauck Jr., 33, of Edinburg, died Sunday at Winchester Medical Center after initially being transported to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital from his residence in the 100 block of Hisey Avenue late Friday morning.

“I will say it’s an illegal drug, narcotics-related death,” Proctor said, adding that it was too soon for him to specify what kind of drug was involved.

The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office issued a written statement late Monday describing the death of Ian Patrick McDonald, 25, as a drug overdose. McDonald was on work release from the Northwest Regional Adult Detention Center prior to his death, the Sheriff’s Office stated.

The Sheriff’s Office noted that members of the department found McDonald dead at 13630 Lord Fairfax Highway. Investigators at the scene found several items that led them to believe McDonald had died of a drug overdose.

In Strasburg, Police Chief Tim Sutherly said his department was investigating what he called a “suspicious death” but provided no further details.

“I’m not prepared to say anything about it until the toxicology report comes back,” Sutherly said.

<p id=’reporter_info’>Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or <a href=’mailto:jbeck@nvdaily.com’>jbeck@nvdaily.com</a></p>