2017-12-06 / Front Page

Test results back

Fentanyl in bodies of both mother, daughter
BY JEFF HOGAN
810-452-2640 • jhogan@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER — Toxicology tests unveiled last week that fentanyl was found in the bodies of a mother and daughter found deceased Nov. 5 at a downtown Lapeer apartment.

“All the facts in my investigation are pointing to a drug overdose,” Det./ Sgt. Craig Gormley told The County Press regarding the deaths of Vicki Rosencrantz, 59, and her daughter Jody Clark, 43. The toxicology results also revealed there were other illegal drugs in the mix.

It will be up to a pathologist to determine in their report what combination of drugs or other medical conditions may have contributed to their deaths. When the medical forensic pathologist completes their report it is shared with the medical examiner who will ultimately identify the cause of death.

While Gormley would not say the overdose was specifically tied to heroin, posts by family of the deceased have suggested both victims were known heroin users.

The bodies of Rosencrantz and Clark were found in the apartment of a friend in the 100 block of Nepessing. Drug paraphernalia, said Gormley, was also found in the apartment though it’s not necessarily certain it was used at the time of their deaths but adds to the likelihood of an overdose.

When the pathologist report and final medical examiner determination will be complete is uncertain. Gormley said it could be weeks or months before a final report is finished.

Last June the deadly carfentanil drug was found on a suspect during a traffic stop initiated by Lapeer County Sheriff’s Dept. deputies. The drug is 10,000 times stronger than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl, according to the National Institutes for Health. The use of carfentanil has been linked to multiple overdose deaths in Ohio and Michigan, where at least 19 people are believed to have died after overdosing on the drug.

Carefentanil, a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act, is used as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals.

Fentanyl is just as much a killer, as evidenced by the November deaths in Lapeer said Gormley.

“This stuff (fentanyl) may be in what you’re using,” Gormley warned drug users and loved ones who may know someone who uses and abuses drugs. “The risk of serious injury or death is very real if people are using heroin or other opioids. We can’t emphasize enough how dangerous this behavior is, whether to the long-time addict or a firsttime user who may have been pressured by their friends to try heroin.”

Other evidence such as phones and computers were obtained from the crime scene and are being analyzed to determine if they can help investigators identify from whom and where the drugs came from that took the life of the women. Generally heroin, said Gormley, is smuggled into the United States and makes entry to the country through southern states where distribution corridors then take the drug across the country. In the region, heroin sales are known to occur in Port Huron, Pontiac and Flint, said the detective.

“The friend whose apartment the bodies were found has cooperated with us, but there’s still more to do to help us learn more about the circumstances that contributed to their deaths,” Gormley said.

Last Fourth of July in the city of Lapeer Gormley said a woman had overdosed, and in that case it was found to be laced with fentanyl.

Autopsies were performed at McLaren Lapeer Region two days after the bodies were discovered.

With the discovery of fentanyl and other findings, Gormley is certain their deaths were likely the result of an overdose and not foul play on the part of a third party.

The pathologist’s report will specifically identify, said Gormley, what ultimately took the women’s lives. “Sometimes it can be a combination of an overdose, coupled with medical conditions or diseases the individuals had. I’m saying that’s the case here, but sometimes several factors contributed to the deaths.”

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