Investigators suspect the combination of heroin, prescription drugs and alcohol likely played a role in the death of a man in his mid-30s, who was found dead Sunday morning in his guest room at the Kaba Hotel on Route 15 in South Williamsport.
"No heroin was found in the room, but from what we have gathered through interviews, we believe heroin was used," borough Police Chief Robert Hetner said.
The man, identified as Eugene Mullay, 34, had two listed addresses, one in Watsontown and another in Catawissa, Columbia County, according to Lycoming County Coroner Charles E. Kiessling Jr.
PHILIP A. HOLMES/Sun-Gazette
Area police handled two suspected drug calls within a five-hour period on Sunday. City police inspect a car in a parking lot at the Williamsport Regional Medical Center on High Street after a man was seen injecting what was believed to be heroin about 12:30 p.m. The man, a resident of Union County, was taken into custody and later released. Heroin and drug paraphernalia were found in the vehicle. Charges are pending.
PHILIP A. HOLMES/Sun-Gazette
South Williamsport police and paramedics responded to the Kaba Hotel on Route 15 about 7:20 a.m. when a male guest is believed to have died from a heroin overdose. However, investigators are awaiting toxicology tests.
Paramedics and police responded to the hotel at 234 Route 15 about 7:20 a.m. "for an unconscious male believed to be a heroin overdose," Hetner confirmed.
Mullay, who checked in at the hotel late Saturday afternoon with a male friend, was found dead in his room on one of the upper floors, Hetner said.
Police found "a limited amount of drug paraphernalia and open bottles to four different prescriptions" that all were in the man's name.
In addition to using drugs, Mullay was believed to have consumed beer, according to what investigators were told.
No charges were filed against the second guest, whose identity was not released.
Toxicology tests will be done on Mullay to see if drugs and alcohol were the cause of death, Kiessling said.
In an unrelated case, city police took into custody a Mifflinburg man in his late 20s, minutes after he is believed to have injected heroin in a car that was parked in a lot at the Williamsport Regional Medical Center, 700 High St., where officers were called about 12:20 p.m. Sunday.
The man, whose identity was not released, did not suffer any medical episode, police said. Officers found packets of heroin and drug paraphernalia in the vehicle.
He later was released but will be charged.
Also, on the afternoon of April 16, two women, both on state parole, walked into a restroom at the hospital and injected heroin, police confirmed.
The women, who were found unresponsive, recovered, and charges are pending against the two, police said.
"The drug problem in this area is completely out of control," Kiessling said in an interview late Sunday afternoon.
"The whole situation is a mess," he said, adding that his office has about a half a dozen ongoing death investigations in which he is awaiting toxicology test results.
"The drugs are clearly destroying people's lives," Kiessling said.
There were 19 drug overdoses in the county last year, including 11 caused by heroin, Kiessling said.
"I think we have had anywhere from 10 to 15 drug overdoses already this year," he said.
A man in his 40s was found dead last week in a home he shared with a relative north of Williamsport.
"A syringe was still in his hand (when police got there)," Kiessling said.
A Pennsylvania College of Technology student from Huntingdon was found dead in his off-campus apartment in the 900 block of Vine Avenue on April 21, Kiessling said.
"Some drug paraphernalia was found in the student's room," he added.
A Williamsport-area woman in her 40s is believed to have died from a drug overdose after collapsing on the sidewalk in the 1300 block of Scott Street in the city about 4 a.m. April 17.
In addition to these cases, toxicology test results have not yet been determined or disclosed in the following death investigations:
Thomas Castle, 26, of Roaring Branch, whose body was "dropped off" at the Williamsport Regional Medical Center about 3:30 a.m. March 22, hours after he apparently collapsed at 916 Arch St. in the city. Police records stated he was "a heroin user."
Clifford W. DelJanovan, 49, an excavator and construction worker, found dead in his bedroom at 619 First Ave. in the city about 10 a.m. Feb. 25. He was staying illegally at the property, which the city codes department briefly condemned.
Oscar J. Hepburn Jr., 38, a hospital nurse from South Williamsport, found dead in a car near Second and Memorial avenues in the city on Feb. 20.