Man charged in connection to elephant tranquilizer overdose death stemming from Nov. 2018 incident in Salem

Crime

SALEM, W.Va. — A man has been charged in connection to a Carfentanil overdose death stemming from an incident in Salem in November 2018.

According to a criminal complaint filed by the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, on Nov. 18, 2018, Tyler Foley, 34, of Salem, was at a residence in Salem and “it was determined that [Foley] brought Carfentanil to the residence.”

Carfentanil is used as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals, according to the DEA. It is approximately 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which can be lethal at the 2-milligram range, the DEA says.

During that time, Foley, as well as two other individuals “were using illegal drugs,” and at some point during the evening, two of the individuals “went upstairs” while Foley stayed downstairs, deputies said.

At 2:00-3:00 a.m., Foley “heard heavy breathing upstairs” and when to check on the individuals upstairs and found Ellen Cain “slumped over a plastic bin with her mouth and nose in the clothes, pulseless,” according to the complaint.

The other individual “was lying on the floor and was unresponsive”; Foley “provided CPR for 20 minutes,” and left the residence afterward to “text a female subject,” deputies said.

At that time, Foley got a ride and went home, “failing to summon emergency services”; however, Foley did tell another individual “to go check on Cain” and the other individual, and when she arrived, she called 911, because she “found Cain deceased inside the residence,” according to the complaint.

Cain’s body was taken to the state medical examiner’s officer for an autopsy, the results of which were received on June 17, 2019, and “Cain’s cause of death was determined to be from a drug overdose,” deputies said.

On Nov. 28, 2019, deputies conducted an interview with Foley, during which he was read his Miranda rights, and “did waive his rights and agreed to speak,” during which time, Foley “did admit to leaving the residence without calling for medical assistance,” according to the complaint.

On June 23, 2021, a warrant was issued for Foley’s arrest in connection to the Nov. 2018 incident, deputies said, and as a result, Foley has been charged with failure to render aid.

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