Gallia Sheriff: Two Men Died of Drug Overdoses in Car Fire

GALLIA COUNTY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- We're learning new information about how two men died in a car fire in Gallia County, Ohio, early this year.

The fire happened on a rural Raccoon Township road in March.

Investigators said they've determined a drug overdose led to the men's deaths.

The sheriff said they still have little information about why and how the fire started, but he said one of the possibilities is trying to figure out if the fire was intentionally set to cover up the overdoses.

It's nearing six months since Terrell Hurt, 21, and Tyler Pearson, 20, were found dead in a burning car in Gallia County, Ohio.

To this day, investigators are still looking for clues as to how the fire started.

"No gunshot wounds, stab wounds, no trauma, other than what would be normally expected with a vehicle fire," Gallia County Sheriff Joe Browning said.

Browning said medical reports show both died of drug overdoses, but the fire was also a factor.

"There is nothing really right now that indicates to us what started the fire within the vehicle," he said.

The Ohio Attorney General's Office and Bureau of Criminal Investigation has also been digging for clues.

"A lot of this falls back into the drug trafficking that's prevalent right now in rural areas in Ohio and in West Virginia," Browning said.

The sheriff said his office is investigating at least four separate death cases attributed to heroin.

He calls it a regional problem with a "taxing price tag," both financially and emotionally.

The sheriff said it's touching the lives of families around the region, just like Terrell and Tyler's.

"There's nothing that can happen that's going to make them whole again, but we do owe it, I think, to the families and to society to try to determine whether it was something accidental or whether it was intentionally set to cover up the overdose deaths or something else," he said.

The sheriff said the warning signs of drug abuse are often tough to see in the early stages.

He said in many cases, by the time a young person with a problem has noticeable symptoms, it can be too late.

The Gallia County Sheriff asks anyone with information on the fire to call immediately.


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