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UPDATE: 2 found dead in Newhall succumbed to drug overdoses

Coroner's office says heroin was not involved

Posted: January 29, 2013 11:01 a.m.
Updated: January 29, 2013 6:17 p.m.

Sheriff's deputies work a scene where a man and a woman were found dead at a home at Heritage Lane and Maple Street in Newhall, Monday, Oct. 15, 2012.

A man and a woman found dead in a Newhall house three months ago both committed suicide, a coroner’s spokesman said Tuesday.

Jeff Donnelly, 51, and Christine Towner, 29, died of drug overdoses, but not from heroin as initially suspected, said Coroner’s Office Assistant Chief Ed Winter.

The two also died around the same time, coroner’s investigators concluded. Donnelly died from intoxication of anti-depressant pills while Towner died of “multiple drug intoxication,” Winter said Tuesday.

Toxicology tests indicate Donnelly ingested the drug Bupropion, commonly prescribed to treat depression and anxiety.

Nothing in the toxicology report on either victim, however, indicated heroin was involved in their deaths, Winter said.

Donnelly’s and Towner’s bodies were found Oct. 15 inside a studio apartment in a rented home at Heritage Lane and Maple Street in Newhall.

Their landlord, Leonard Miller, said he found them on the floor of the apartment located at the rear of his house. He made the discovery, he said, when he visited the home to find out if his tenant was OK.

The duo’s official time of death as 4:39 p.m. Oct. 15, Winter said.

Shortly after news of their deaths was made public, relatives of both victims contacted The Signal separately and shared their fears that heroin was involved in their deaths.

Two weeks before their bodies were found, Donnelly and Towner told friends and family they were going to be married, relatives told The Signal.

Greg Towner, of San Clemente, said his daughter had struggled with drug addiction in high school and, in September, had confessed to using heroin.

When he learned of her death, heroin was the first thing he suspected, he said.

According to Donnelly’s ex-wife, Donnelly was “crazy in love with” Christine Towner.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt






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