Heroin overdose caused teen's death, medical examiner says

June 24, 1998

The state medical examiner confirmed yesterday that a heroin overdose caused the death of a 17-year-old Glenelg High School graduate who was found slumped against a tree near the Triadelphia Reservoir in Dayton last week.

Dr. Margarita Korell, who performed the autopsy on Damien Massella of the 3200 block of Roscommon Drive, said that heroin, injected by a needle, stopped the boy's breathing and heartbeat. The official cause of death was described as "narcotic intoxication."

"Heroin is a depressant of the respiratory system," Korell said.

Damien's body was found about 12: 30 a.m. by two people walking along paths near the boat ramp off Green Bridge Road, police said.

The boy's car was found nearby, police said.

Howard County police said they weren't surprised by the results because officers had found a syringe in Damien's pocket and a puncture wound in his left arm.

"That's what we suspected," said Sgt. Morris Carroll, spokesman for the department.

Pub Date: 6/24/98

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