Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Death Probes Carry into 2003

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Death Probes Carry into 2003

Article excerpt

Byline: Teresa Stepzinski, Times-Union staff writer

They are unidentified and unclaimed.

As the new year begins, Southeast Georgia authorities continue working to identify three men who died under suspicious circumstances, including one smuggling 15 bundles of suspected cocaine and heroin in his stomach.

Law enforcement officials are asking the public for help determining the mens' identities, and in two of the cases, also help determine if they were murdered.

Two of the cases occurred in Glynn County while the other was in neighboring Wayne County. Investigators say there is no indication that the cases are linked.

In the most recent case, a man who swallowed cellophane-wrapped packets of a powdered substance suspected of being cocaine mixed with with heroin sealed in cut-off latex rubber glove fingers died last month at Southeast Georgia Regional Medical Center in Brunswick.

The man, who gave a phony name to hospital personnel, went to the hospital's emergency room late Dec. 4 complaining of severe stomach pain and died about 30 minutes later, police said.

During an autopsy, a medical examiner discovered the drug bundles inside the man's stomach and intestines. At least one of the bundles had ruptured, leaking drugs into his system, Glynn County police Capt. Ray Starling said.

Glynn County Coroner Jimmy Durden said the man apparently died of an accidental drug overdose.

Investigators ran his fingerprints through state law enforcement databases without success but are in the process of checking nationwide, said Sgt. Kevin Jones of the Brunswick Police Department.

"Because he hasn't been claimed, we're going to bury him in a pauper's grave at Greenwood Cemetery," said Durden, noting the burial could occur later this month unless his family is found.

Jones described the man as African-American, about 50 to 60 years old, about 6 feet tall with short hair. …

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