Nov 13, 2013
05:36 AM
The Connecticut Story

Police in Torrington, Winsted Investigating 4 Possible Drug-Overdose Deaths over Week Span

Police in Torrington, Winsted Investigating 4 Possible Drug-Overdose Deaths over Week Span

Esteban L. Hernandez/Register Citizen

The Lakeside Motel on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013. A man was found dead at the motel on Nov. 3 and is suspected to have died from heroin use.

According to police, at least four drug-related deaths may have occurred over the span of five days in Litchfield County.

The Torrington Police Department is investigating three suspected heroin-related deaths that occurred over a two day period.

Lt. Bruce Whiteley said three deaths occurred last weekend, on Nov. 2 and Nov. 3. He said the department is awaiting toxicology reports from the state Chief Medical Examiner’s office, which would confirm whether or not the deaths were caused by heroin use.

“We won’t know until we have the toxicology reports,” Whiteley said.

Winchester Police are also investigating a possible drug-related death that occurred on Nov. 6. 24-year-old Richard “Riley” Ryan, who worked in Torrington, was found dead and is suspected to have died from an overdose, although police there did not specifically cite suspected heroin use. He died of cardiac arrest.

According to police, the first two deaths in Torrington occurred on the morning of Nov. 2, with calls regarding the two separate incidents received a little more than an hour apart.

The first death was a 44-year-old male, Dale Rinaldi, who was pronounced dead upon arrival at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital. Police responded to a call placed at 5:20 a.m. Rinaldi was taken via ambulance from a residence on Laurel Hill Road.

The second victim, a 42-year-old male, was found dead in a residence on Taylor Street, Whiteley said. Authorities first received a call about that incident at 6:15 a.m. The fire department and Campion Ambulance were dispatched to 75 Taylor Street, one of the Torrington Sober Houses. It is an all-male facility for recovering addicts attempting to transition back to society.

The third death occurred on the afternoon of Nov. 3, as authorities responded to a call placed at 12:36 p.m. at Lakeside Motel on Winsted Road. Police found a 26-year-old man dead at the scene.

No foul play is suspected in any of the deaths.

“It doesn’t appear as they are related, other than all being suspected heroin-related deaths,” Whiteley said

Whiteley said they are not sure if the narcotics came from the same batch. He said finding the sources of the narcotics is difficult.

Last month, the Connecticut Poison Control Center at the University of Connecticut Health Center released an alert regarding tainted heroin. Poison experts determined that some batches of the narcotic was being adulterated with clenbuterol, a long-acting drug that is used commonly for veterinary medicine but is not approved for human use, according to the alert,

Since releasing the alert, the poison control center has received 11 calls regarding potentially tainted heroin, community education specialist Amy Hanoian-Fontana said. It’s unclear how long the tainted heroin will continue to be in use.

“It’s kind of hard to predict if this is something that’s going to be long term or short term, but historically they tend to be short term,” Hanoian-Fontana said.

Of the 11 calls, only about two or three are suspected to be actual cases of tainted heroin, Hanoian-Fontana said. She said the alert helped increase the number of reports brought to the attention of the center, which is their goal.

“If it helps even one person, it’s so worth it,” Hanoian-Fontana said.

For more, visit the Register-Citizen online.


Police in Torrington, Winsted Investigating 4 Possible Drug-Overdose Deaths over Week Span

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