Rumors spread about young men found dead on the same day
As rumors run rampant following the death of two young men who were found dead in Salem Dec. 17, authorities are trying to avoid drawing premature conclusions.
Thomas Arthur (T.J.) Pleasant Jr., 18, of Salem and James Nathan Davis, 23, of St. Charles, Mo., were both found dead by family members Saturday morning. Pleasant was found in his bed by his parents, according to Salem Police Chief Albert Roork, and Davis was found on a living room couch by his grandmother at her home.
The chief said he would not know for some time whether the deaths were from drug overdoses. "That would be only a guess," he said. "I've learned in situations like this not to guess."
Roork added, "I have no reason to suspect they are connected," he said.
But Roork said the fact that the two men, both of whom appeared to be healthy, were found dead on the same day was "certainly a major concern."
The bodies of both men have been sent to the state crime lab for autopsies to determine the causes of death. Roork said it could take nine months to a year before he received the results of the toxicology test to determine whether the two had died of drug overdoses.
A preliminary report that will show whether either died of injuries or a congenital health problem would be back within a few weeks, the chief said.
Roork addressed some of the rumors circulating about the deaths. He said he knows of no "third" death, either in Izard County or Fulton County. Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence said he also knows of no other death that might be connected to the others.
Concerning the rumor that both men had been to the same party the night before, Roork said one of the men had been to a party the afternoon before, but he did not have any reason to suspect that the death was connected to the party. He said he did not know if the other man had been to the party.
A Fulton County Sheriff's Office spokesman said there have been no arrests in the case. Roork and the Arkansas State Police are conducting interviews in the ongoing investigation.
Pleasant was a senior at Salem High School. "I've know T.J. a long time, and he was a very nice young man," Roork said. Additional information on Pleasant was not yet available at press time.
Davis was a salesman for a photography studio. He had a daughter, Patience Lawson, of Thayer. He also had many relatives in Salem, Viola, Mammoth Spring and throughout the area.
His funeral was held Dec. 21 at the Barker Funeral Home Chapel in Salem, with burial at Agnos Cemetery.