Man staying in Middletown warming center dies; autopsy performed

A homeless man collapsed March 7 at this warming center on Grove Street in Middletown and died at Atrium Medical Center, according to officials and the Warren County Coroner's Office. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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A homeless man collapsed March 7 at this warming center on Grove Street in Middletown and died at Atrium Medical Center, according to officials and the Warren County Coroner's Office. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The Warren County Coroner’s Office has performed an autopsy on a homeless man who collapsed while staying in a warming center, then died at Atrium Medical Center.

William Jeffreys, 47, died March 7, according to the coroner’s office. It may take up to eight weeks before the toxicology report is released, according to a coroner’s office official. Warren County is handling the case because Jeffreys was pronounced dead in that county.

Erica Norton, chief operating officer for The Mindful Healing Center, which is operating the Middletown warming center, said staff found Jeffreys in a bathroom stall. She said paramedics administered Narcan, but Jeffreys didn’t respond. He was transported from the warming center to Atrium, she said.

No needles were found on or near Jeffreys, but a prescription bottle was located, she said.

The warming center is located at 1009 Grove St. and opened in late January and is expected to operate through the end of April, according to the contract with the city.

In January, Middletown City Council unanimously approved spending up to $95,000 to provide a warming center for three months to the city’s homeless.

Norton said the warming center operates from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m. seven days a week. That means the cost of operating the center will be about $1,000 a day.

The total cost of the Grove location will be fully covered by the city’s special American Rescue Plan Act allocation of approximately $1.3 million that must be used to house the homeless or those in imminent threat of being homeless, according to city officials.

The center is averaging about 25 to 30 residents a night, Norton said.

Police Chief David Birk said when officers find someone sleeping outside, they transport them to the warming center.

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