Meadville Tribune

Local News

July 17, 2006

Two deaths caused by drug overdoses ruled as homicides

07/18/06 — The deaths of two Crawford County men, who died of drug overdoses in June, have been ruled homicide by Crawford County Coroner Patrick McHenry.

Matthew Gookin, 25, of Meadville, died of “multiple lethal drug overdose,” said the coroner, noting Gookin had a number of drugs in his bloodstream, including morphine, metabolites, fetanyl (from patches), methadone, marijuana, venoafaxial and traces of tresdone.

However, McHenry said the fetanyl in Gookin’s body wasn’t from the same heroin which caused deaths in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. He said in this case, the fetanyl was from patches, not from a mixture of that drug with heroin.

Patrick Chaney, 20, of Conneaut Lake, died of “morphine toxicity due to injection of heroin,” said McHenry.

Because their deaths were caused by the drug overdoses, the coroner made the homicide ruling and believes there should be prosecutions.

“The investigations are continuing and charges (if any) will be determined by the district attorney,” McHenry said. He said there are suspects in the Gookin death, but investigation continues in the Chaney death.

District Attorney Francis Schultz wasn’t available Monday for comment.

These two cases make 10 deaths ruled homicide this year alone because they were drug related, said McHenry.

So far in 2006, drugs have been the cause of death of residents from Meadville, Randolph, Titusville, Summit Township, Vernon Township and Sadsbury Township.

Some were from an overdoses of heroin, others from cocaine.

McHenry said drugs are killing young people either from deliberate or accidental overdoses or somehow being related to the death.

Last year, drugs were is attributed to seven suicides and five homicides in the county.

In addition, McHenry ruled six deaths in 2005 accidental, noting they were because people died from accidental overdoses of prescribed drugs.

In addition, he noted deaths caused from motor vehicle accidents accounted for even more — nine were under the influence of either alcohol, amphetamines or hydrocodin.

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