03/13/07 — Autopsy of 25-year-old shows lethal mix of drugs

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Autopsy of 25-year-old shows lethal mix of drugs

By Lee Williams
Published in News on March 13, 2007 1:51 PM

Blood samples taken from a young woman who was found dead at Econo Lodge on New Year's Day showed she had a lethal mix of methadone and cocaine in her body when she died, a state autopsy report shows.

Officials from the Chief Medical Examiner's office in Chapel Hill were called to examine the body of 25-year-old Taletha "Tee" Kearney of Holly Road. Ms. Kearney's body was found in a motel room by her boyfriend, Tony Lacel Battle.

Battle, 36, of National Drive, reported the incident about 6:34 a.m.

During a 911 call, a frantic male caller told dispatchers he found Ms. Kearney's body and said he thought she died from a drug overdose.

Goldsboro police and Wayne County Emergency Medical Services responded to the motel located on Corporate Drive and found her dead.

No physical signs of trauma were noted, but cocaine abuse was suspected, officials said in the autopsy report. Her body was sent to the medical examiner's office for an autopsy.

Police declined to disclose the circumstances surrounding her death, but said foul play had not been ruled out.

The autopsy report completed by Dr. Deborah L. Radisch, a pathologist, revealed methadone and Benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, were present in the victim's blood.

The report also said Ms. Kearney "was not reported to be taking methadone as a prescription medication."

Methadone is a prescription drug that is used to treat heroin addicts, health experts said.

"In my opinion, the cause of death in this case was due to methadone and cocaine toxicity," the report said.

The report called the incident an "accident." It was unclear if the Goldsboro police will continue to pursue the case.

Ms. Kearney is survived by two children.