Indiana authorities investigate deaths of 3 patients within a week at addiction treatment center

Jul 12, 2023, 12:06 PM | Updated: 1:52 pm

MISHAWAKA, Ind. (AP) — The deaths of three patients within a week at a northern Indiana addiction treatment center are being investigated by local authorities, who are also looking into a suspected overdose involving a fourth patient.

The St. Joseph County Police Department said Tuesday it was working with the county coroner’s office to investigate the deaths and the suspected overdose at Praxis Landmark Recovery, an all-male drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located near Mishawaka, a city that is adjacent to South Bend.

The first death was discovered July 3 at the treatment center, where police and first responders called to the scene about a dead patient found the body of Seth M. Jones, 19, of Montpelier, Indiana.

The next day, police and first responders were called again to the center about a second death and found the body of William Breda, 46, of Griffith, Indiana. Police said Breda and Jones’ bodies were found in rooms across the hall from each other.

Within six hours of the July 4 call, police and first responders were summoned again to the treatment center, this time for a possible overdose of a 22-year-old man. That man was revived after being administered three doses of Narcan and taken to a hospital for further treatment.

“All three of these cases are suspected of involving some type of drug overdose; however, aspects of the incidents are suspicious, and no conclusions or determinations have been made at this time,” police said in a news release.

The third patient death occurred Sunday, when first responders and fire personnel called about a smoke alarm found the body of a 28-year-old man at the treatment center. Police said it’s likely suicide, but toxicology results and an autopsy are pending.

Police have requested security video and records from Landmark Recovery, but they had not received those from the company as of Wednesday, said Troy Warner, public information officer for the St. Joseph County Police Department.

Officials began investigating the deaths and suspected overdose because of both the narrow timeframe those incidents occurred in, and “the lack of information and cooperation that we received on scene,” he said.

“Both of those factors contributed to us wanting to take a closer look at the incidents,” Warner said.

Landmark Recovery, a Franklin, Tennessee-based company with treatment centers in several states, said in a statement that it was saddened by the three patients’ deaths, was “working closely” with authorities, and was also conducting an internal investigation “into these events.”

“Addiction is a devastating disease that impacts every socioeconomic level and because of that, we have made it our mission to not only serve those with commercial health insurance, but to provide high quality care for those with Medicaid, a population that has very few choices or support options for addiction recovery,” Landmark Recovery added in a statement sent Monday night.

Jessica Goble, a spokeswoman for Landmark Recovery, said Wednesday that she was checking on the status of the request for the video and records sought by Indiana investigators.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration said in a statement that it “is deeply saddened to hear of the lives lost” at the treatment center, WSBT-TV reported.

The agency said its Division of Mental Health and Addiction “is responsible for certifying entities that provide mental health and addiction services for individuals with behavioral health needs.” The agency said the Division of Mental Health and Addiction “will review all reports received from Landmark and consider next steps.”

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Indiana authorities investigate deaths of 3 patients within a week at addiction treatment center