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Cause of death studied in lab

By By ROBERT BLANKENSHIP – Managing Editor
Local officials still await the results of an autopsy and other lab work in determining the cause of death of a 23-year-old Brewton man, though early results have given them some valuable information.
Jeremey Daniel Richards was found dead on the floor of his Zion Hill Road home on Dec. 4.
Information received so far from the Alabama Forensics Department confirmed that there was no physical trauma to the body.
Escambia County Sheriff Tim Hawsey said after finding Richards that there was no sign of foul play, evidence of a struggle or physical signs of injury to the body.
According to Hawsey, what AFD officials did find was an excess amount of some chemicals within the body. While the official cause of death is still unknown, Hawsey said the existence of the unspecified chemical may mean Richards suffered some type of overdose.
Forensics has sent samples of the substance to toxicology where official results will likely be determined.
Hawsey said most likely the chemical caused Richards' death.
Hawsey said it could be days or even weeks before the official results from toxicology are released.
According to the sheriff's office, a relative had left Richards' trailer at approximately 9 a.m. That relative told investigators that when he left Richards appeared to be sleeping in his bed. A few hours later another relative discovered Richards on the floor.
Hawsey said ECSO investigators are treating the case as a homicide until the cause of death can be confirmed.