Pekin-area police are investigating the apparent drug-related deaths of three men in little over two weeks, including two who’ve died since Sunday.
Most recently, Ted Beever, 37, was found unconscious at 6 a.m. Monday in a home at 728 Hanna Drive, just south of Pekin, and later pronounced dead, Tazewell County Sheriff’s Capt. Tim Gillespie said Tuesday.
Daniel Whitley, 34, died of an apparent overdose Sunday evening in a home in the 200 block of Hillside Court where he resided, said Pekin Police Public Information Officer Billie Ingles.
Robert Whitby, 24, of Creve Coeur, died May 28 in a home on North 20th Street, Ingles said.
Three more people have suffered non-fatal drug overdoses in Pekin this month, Ingles said. In at least one of those cases, the victim’s life may have been saved by first responders’ use of the swift-acting anti-opiate naloxone, also known as Narcan, to counter the drug’s effects, she said.
While the deaths remain under investigation and final autopsy results are pending, police declined Tuesday to identify what type of drugs were involved and whether the cases might be related.
In Beever’s case, however, the Sheriff’s Department is seeking the public’s help in what Gillespie described as a “very complicated case.”
First, “We want to quell rumors” that have spread on social media about the death, he said.
“Foul play is not suspected, but we have a lot of questions, a lot to follow up on,” Gillespie said. “Somebody out there knows where he got the substance that he apparently overdosed on.”
In all, 18 people died in 2016 from drugs they ingested in Tazewell County, including two who were pronounced dead at Peoria hospitals.
Ten of them succumbed to heroin overdoses, an increase over previous years that reflected the rising nationwide use of heroin, often combined with fentanyl or other drugs used to cut the heroin for street sales.
Narcan, meanwhile, continues to save overdose victims’ lives in Pekin, where firefighters and paramedics have carried it for years and police officers began doing so last September.
Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin