3 overdose victims identified as Detroit neighbors grieve
Detroit — The quiet of Monday in the Emerald Springs townhome community stood in stark contrast to the activity of police cars, ambulances and medical examiner trucks outside of a home where two young girls on Sunday found four adults overdosing on drugs.
Medics were able to revive one adult, but the other three died. The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office identified the deceased as Marcel Redmond, 31, Rashawn Nathanial, 31, and Donna White, 34.
White was the mother of the two girls, ages 6 and 8, who found the adults.
The grisly discovery was made about 3:50 p.m. on the 12000 block of Caldwell, police said. That's north of Caniff and west of Mound. An official cause of death is pending from the medical examiner.
Naloxone, an overdose-reversing drug, was used to revive a 32-year-old man.
Across-the-street neighbor Alicia Shoulder, 53, worries what will become of the girls. She wonders what guidance they are receiving from social workers, how much they know about what transpired and volunteered to open her home to the girls, even if only for the holidays.
“You can see I don’t have much,” said Shoulder as she smoked a cigarette in her living room, eyes damp from the tears she was fighting back, “but they’re welcome to it.”
Shoulder’s daughter, Kamonee, 13, saw the scene unfold Sunday and ran home telling her mother that her neighbor “had passed out again.”
Before long, that corner of the subdivision was filled with emergency vehicles whose lights and sirens conveyed how serious things were across the street.
But the men and women working the scene were officially tight-lipped, so much so that Shoulder said she had to learn from the evening news what had become of the people she’d waved hello to, broken bread with and whose children played with her daughter over the last 4½ years.
Shoulder says she wants her daughter to learn from what she saw.
“I want her to understand what happened, so she knows the importance of keeping yourself clean,” Shoulder said. “Clean your spirit. Clean your mind and your thoughts. It has to be clean.”
The girls were taken to an area hospital for observation. Child Protective Services is investigating the incident to determine where they should be placed, police said.
Naloxone has been in widespread use in Michigan in recent years. It started with law enforcement after Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard fought for a change in state law that would allow police to carry the drug.
But lately, it has branched out to the general public too, to the point 50,000 free kits of the antidote were distributed by Michigan pharmacies in September.
Last year, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, 2,036 people in Michigan died of opioid overdoses. Roughly 76% of those overdoses that year owed to synthetic opioids.
Compare that to 2000, when only 17 of Michigan's 183 opioid overdoses (9%) owed to synthetic opioids.
On Monday, the home looked like any other on the neighborhood, with a satellite dish and a home security system sign out front. The flap of the mailbox was open, waiting on the next delivery from the postman. And a light was on.
“None of those people thought (Sunday) was going to be their last day,” Shoulder said.