Traverse City Record-Eagle

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February 18, 2014

Benzie man dies after suspected overdose

BEULAH — A Homestead Township man died in what authorities suspect is Benzie County’s fourth fatal drug overdose since 2013.

Emergency personnel declared Christopher Glen Hobart, 21, dead Saturday morning in his Weldon Road residence after responding to a call about an unresponsive man. Sheriff’s Sgt. Troy Lamerson said detectives suspect Hobart’s death is an overdose, likely from methadone.

“We think it’s an overdose of prescription medication not prescribed to him,” he said.

Lamerson said initial investigation showed no signs of foul play and deputies arrested a woman, 21, who also lived in the residence. She’s being held in Benzie County’s jail awaiting arraignment on felony drug possession charges.

Sheriff Ted Schendel said a forensic autopsy conducted Monday should determine Hobart’s exact cause of death and whether Hobart numbers among a string of fatal overdoses that began last year.

In May, Justin Smith, 23, was found dead in a home near Alysworth Road in Benzonia Township. Authorities attributed his death to a drug overdose and charged a Detroit-area man, Mark Lee Maxwell, 32, with cocaine and heroin-related charges.

Lamerson said a woman, 34, of Benzonia Township, died in October from a suspected combination of prescription medications. A criminal investigation is ongoing.

In December, Marcia Carol Whitaker, 57, of Honor, was found dead in another suspected overdose. Lamerson said he awaits final test results, but believes based on the evidence found in her residence that she likely died injecting heroin.

“Obviously, Benzie County is having more than our fair share of overdoses,” he said. “People need to be aware of taking drugs that are not prescribed to them. Improper doses can have huge side effects on people up to and including death.”

Members of the public with information about potential drug activity are asked to call the Benzie County sheriff’s officials at 231-882-4484 or submit anonymous tip to the department’s website.

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