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Autopsy: Couple died of heroin overdose, not carbon monoxide poisoning

By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.
cwootson@charlotteobserver.com

A husband and wife found dead in their north Charlotte home in February both died of heroin overdoses, according to autopsy reports released by the N.C. Medical Examiner on Wednesday.

A family member found the bodies of Travis Wayne Edwards, 22, and Ashely Erin Edwards, 20, on the morning of Feb. 7, according to the autopsy reports. They were wearing pajamas and lying beside each other in bed in their home on Mount Holly-Huntersville Road.

Neighbors had initially suspected the couple died of carbon monoxide poisoning because of a reported gas leak in the neighborhood hours before the bodies were found. But blood tests didn’t show elevated levels of the gas in the Edwardses’ systems.

Police say they don’t suspect foul play in the deaths. The Edwardses had a daughter, but WSOC-TV reported that she wasn’t home when her parents died.

The Edwardses both had fatal levels of 6-monoacetylmorphine, an indicator of heroin use, according to toxicology reports.

Ashely Edwards tested positive for several drugs, including hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, and dextromethorphan, a drug commonly used in over-the-counter cough medicines.

The autopsy says the presence of the opiate oxycodone may have contributed to Travis Edwards’ death. Urine samples showed he had recently ingested codeine and dextromethorphan.

The Cook Volunteer Fire Department responded to three calls about a gas leak in the area beginning around 9 p.m. the night before the Edwardses’ bodies were found.

“Passersby were calling it in. With the wind, the smell would come and go,” said Assistant Chief Chris Brady.

Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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