Man dies from suspected overdose

WOODSTOCK – Shenandoah County authorities say a person died from a suspected drug-related overdose in town over the weekend.

The victim died Saturday of a suspected heroin overdose despite rescue workers attempts to keep him alive with Narcan, according to information from Lt. Chris Baker, of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office.

“Obviously it’s in the early stages of the investigation,” Baker said Monday. “No charges have been filed thus far.

“I do know there were folks on the scene but as far as their involvement in narcotics use I’m not sure,” Baker added.

Investigators suspect heroin likely caused the victim’s overdose but authorities don’t officially link the drug to a death until they see the autopsy results, Baker said.

Sgt. Brent Lutz, of the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office, responded to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital on Saturday to investigate a potential heroin-related overdose death, states an affidavit filed for a warrant to search the victim’s home. Lutz arrived at the hospital to find that the staff pronounced the victim deceased, the affidavit filed with the search warrant in Shenandoah County Circuit Court on Monday states.

Corp. Travis Pence, of the Woodstock Police Department, advised Lutz that the victim was transported from his residence in Woodstock to the hospital, the affidavit states. Emergency responders took the victim to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital, Baker said.

While on scene at the victim’s residence, the affidavit states that “Pence could see in plain view, narcotics paraphernalia that included hypodermic needles on the coffee table located in the living room of the residence.”

Lutz, assigned to the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force, sought the warrant to search the residence to aid in the investigation of possession of heroin and other controlled substances that could assist in the death investigation, the affidavit states.

Lutz executed the search warrant in the early morning hours on Saturday and recovered cellphones and a syringe with a needle in the search.

As of Saturday and since Jan. 1, authorities report that nine drug-related overdoses have occurred in Shenandoah County, one of which resulted in death, Baker said.

According to Lauren Cummings, executive director of Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition,  prior to this past weekend there have been 12 deaths and 56 injuries in the Northwest Region, which includes Winchester, Frederick, Clarke, Shenandoah, Page and Warren counties.

In an unrelated case, Woodstock police investigated a possible drug overdose at the Econo Lodge, 1290 S. Main St.,  on Sunday. Woodstock police Sgt. Brian S. Miller responded to the scene, according to an affidavit for a warrant to search the hotel room filed by the officer in the circuit court on Monday.

A rescue squad transported a man to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital on Sunday. Miller interviewed another man who rented the room, the affidavit states. That man advised earlier that day that he and the victim went to West Virginia and that the victim traded pills and cash for heroin, the affidavit states. The man who rented the room also admitted to using heroin and made statements against his penal interest, the affidavit continues.

Miller was advised that emergency medical services personnel used Narcan on the victim, which had a positive effect.

The office did not recover any items from the hotel room. Neither man had been charged with any crimes related to the case as of Monday, Baker said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com