3 dead in motel room were part of rash of overdoses in Dunn in a 4-day span, police say

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DUNN, N.C. (WNCN) – Police identified the three bodies found in a motel room Tuesday and said they died from an apparent drug overdose, likely fentanyl. A 1-year-old girl was also found in that room, with her mother among those dead.

MacKenzie.

CBS 17 spoke with the father of the infant, Marquett Towns, shortly after she was released from the hospital. The child’s name is MacKenzie and she’s doing well, he said.

It was inside room 5 of the Seven Day Inn in Dunn where investigators found the bodies of the three people. The motel owner said Jessica Howard, the child’s mother had lived there for about a year.

The deceased were identified as:

  • Jessica Howard, 30, Dunn
  • Kenia Cameron, 27, Erwin
  • Dalonte Lavon Wilson, 34, Fayetteville

Police couldn’t say how the three knew each other or how long they were dead. They were first found by the motel owner and Howard’s family members during a wellness check around 1 p.m. Tuesday.

“She was a great mother, a hard worker. She took care of her child,” Towns said.

CBS 17 asked Towns if Howard had a drug problem.

“I never knew nothing about that stuff. I didn’t know,” he responded.

“It’s a tragedy to everyone,” said Dunn Police Chief Clark White.

Clark said his department has seen a spike in overdoses. In a 12 hour span from Saturday into Sunday, his officers responded to seven. Then, on Tuesday, this incident makes 10 overdoses in just four days — a lot for a small town.

“There’s a lot of evidence that points to it all being related,” White said.

He said they’d know more once the toxicology reports come back.

“The lead investigator on this case has a child that same age. It does take quite a toll on people. Even I, at this stage in my career, it’s terrible,” White said.

MacKenzie no longer has a mother. Towns said he’ll do his best to keep her memory alive.

“I’ve got pictures, I’m going to talk about her, her name is always going to live on, and she’s going to know her mother was a great mother regardless of the circumstances,” he said.

Towns said he plans to stay in town until Sunday when he’ll take MacKenzie with him back to Connecticut.

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