Update: Video from news conference in Seymour; 1 dead in wave of overdoses; Seymour man in custody; teens administered Narcan


5 p.m. Video from news conference in Seymour

Seymour police talk about heroin overdoses.

“This is dangerous. It can kill you,” Seymour Assistant Police Chief Craig Hayes said. “It is killing people.”


1 p.m. Video from news conference in Jennings County

Jennings County Prosecutor Brian Belding, left, and Jennings County Sheriff’s Department public information officer Mike Mowery talk about the cluster of overdoses in Jennings County.

Initial call and response —

How many victims authorities responded to —

What’s most alarming about overdoses —

12:15 p.m. Police: This is dangerous

Seymour police just conducted a news conference where they talked about the three overdoses in Jackson County on Tuesday night.

Police said they are concerned that there may be more overdoses.

“This is dangerous. It can kill you. It is killing people,” Assistant Police Chief Craig Hayes said.

Here are some of the details from the news conference:

  • Police were alerted about 10 p.m. Tuesday. Caller to 911 indicated three people were having seizures.
  • Police administered four doses of Narcan to one person and two doses to the other two. One was Michael N. Purvis, 34, Seymour, who was arrested.
  • Police said the overdoses are tied to the multiple overdoses in Jennings County.
  • Police are having to administer multiple doses of Narcan to revive one overdose victim, which speaks to the the powerful synthetic opioids being added to heroin. In the past, one dose would usually revive victims.

11:44 a.m. Authorities release photo of suspect

Michael Purvis
Michael Purvis

Michael N. Purvis, 34, Seymour, dealing in a schedule I, II or II controlled substance.

11:05 a.m. Why did overdoses occur at nearly the same time?

While it is a little unusual that the overdoses in Jennings and Jackson counties happened at nearly the same time, Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, Indiana State Police spokesman, said it is likely the result  of word getting out that a new shipment was in Cincinnati, and someone in Jennings or Jackson counties went to get it for distribution, he said.

The users are waiting on it and as soon as the shipment arrives, they begin using, he said.

Although the overdose reports stopped at about midnight in Jennings County, Sheriff Gary Driver is concerned there may be more today if individuals haven’t heard about the overdose cases. 

10:40 a.m. Jennings police ran out of Narcan, got supplies from another county

Narcan is an antidote used to reverse suspected opioid overdoses, and Jennings officers each carry one dose.

Officers ran out of Narcan as they were trying to save the lives of overdose victims on Tuesday. The Jennings rescue vehicle carries multiple doses, and it also ran out, police said.

Authorities were able to get more Narcan from a nearby county.

Most victims had to be given two doses of Narcan to revive them. One person was given four doses, police said.

10:26 a.m.  Suspect cooperating, police say

From Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott:

The man arrested by Seymour police, Michael N. Purvis,  is cooperating with authorities and has admitted giving heroin to two women. That’s the basis for the two charges.

Abbott said in local police experience, heroin users pool their money and go to Cincinnati or Indianapolis and buy small amounts.

“It’s 30 bucks a hit,” he said.

There were six officers working Tuesday night, Jacob Florine, Mathew Carver, Lt. John Watson, Derrick Shelley, Ryan Cherry and Brandon White.

Each carry one Narcan. Watson, however, keeps the squad room supplied with everything so officers had access to 38 kits, and used seven kits.

10 a.m. 4 arrested by Jennings police

The following men were arrested in connection with overdoses in Jennings County —

  • Jarvie Williams III, 23, of North Vernon. Possession of controlled substance; possession of syringe; possession of paraphernalia; warrant through Jennings County.
  • Damon Clark, 25, of North Vernon. Possession of controlled substance; possession of paraphernalia.
  • Caleb Barton, 18, of North Vernon. Possession of controlled substance. Released on $2,055 bond.
  • Devin R. Fear, 21, of North Vernon. Possession of controlled substance.

10 a.m.: Teens taken to hospital after overdoses

One 16-year-old boy, one 16-year-old girl and one 17-year-old boy were administered Narcan by Jennings County deputies and Rescue 20. They were transported to St. Vincent Jennings Hospital and later released.

10 a.m. Fentanyl in heroin

The Jennings County Sheriff’s Department has learned that almost all of these overdose cases involved heroin and/or Fentanyl.

9:42 a.m. One woman dead

One woman died and 14 people overdosed on heroin in a four-hour period starting at about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, with the cause attributed to heroin laced with fentanyl or another unknown substance.

Jennings County Sheriff Gary Driver described the situation as deputies going from home to home throughout the county as the calls came in, with all victims receiving doses of opioid antidote Narcan and being sent to the hospital to be checked, Driver said.

The female who died overdosed after 10 p.m. and her name is not being released pending toxicology tests to confirm the death as an overdose and determine what substance she may have taken.

The cases occurred all over Jennings County — with the victims ranging in age from 16 to 30, the majority of them male, Driver said.

Driver believes the cases are related to an estimated 34 overdoses in Cincinnati on Tuesday and additional drug overdoses in Jackson County and Seymour.

“We’re pretty certain the heroin is coming from Cincinnati,” Driver said of the overdose cases. Jennings County police have arrested one person who has not yet been identified as a possible heroin dealer associated with the tainted drug, and Jackson County police also arrested one person, identified as Michael Purvis, 34, on one count of dealing in a controlled substance.

Deputies are determining whether Purvis sold the drugs to a dealer in Jennings County or a dealer in Jennings County sold it to Purvis.

Police in Jennings and Jackson counties were aided by social media, after Seymour Police began reporting about the overdoses Tuesday night which was shared on the Internet and went viral on Facebook, Driver said. At one point Tuesday night, Driver received a notification on his phone about the overdoses through social media.

Driver said deputies were so busy Tuesday night responding to the overdose calls they did not have time to issue formal warnings to anyone who had purchased the suspect heroin, and instead relied on social media to get the message out across the area.

Although the overdose reports stopped at about midnight, Driver is concerned there may be more today. Ripley County was reporting one overdose today and Jennings officials are checking with the state police about another that might have occurred in Milan.

9:20 a.m. Drug laced with tranquilizer used in elephants

From Seymour Police Chief Bill Abbott:

The reports of drug overdoses started in Jennings County.

When Seymour had its first report, there were already seven overdoses reported in Jennings County. There were eventually 12 reported in that county.

Seymour eventually had four overdoses reported, three in one house. That’s where Michael Purvis overdosed along with two females he had provided heroin laced with Carfentanil, a tranquilizer used on elephants.
He said it’s 10,000 times stronger than morphine.

Abbott said these overdoses required officers to use multiple doses of Narcan to get a response from the person. Purvis received four and the two woman each received two doses.

Seymour police did not assist with the overdoses in Jennings County, but Abbott said police believe the heroin came from there, and it found its way to Jennings County from the Cincinnati area.

Purvis faces to Level 6 felony counts of dealing in a schedule I, II or III controlled substance because he provided to the two women he was with.

8 a.m. Man in custody

Posted by Seymour police: The Seymour Police Department responded to multiple reports of overdoses Tuesday evening in the Jennings County area and used multiple doses of Narcan in an effort to save the lives of those involved.

These overdoses resulted in multiple men and women being transported to Schneck Medical Center for evaluation. As a result of the investigation into these overdoses Seymour Police Department has placed 34-year-old Seymour resident Michael N. Purvis under arrest.

Purvis faces one Level 6 felony count of dealing in a schedule I, II or III controlled substance. He was booked into the Jackson County Jail at 1:42 a.m. Wednesday and was being held without bond pending his initial hearing.

Under the law, criminal charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Seymour Police Department is working in conjunction with Jennings County Sheriff’s Department and the Indiana State Police to find the source of the items consumed.

Currently 12 overdoses have been reported in the Jennings County area. It was first reported multiple lives had been lost, but due to the efforts of police, fire, EMS, and hospital staff currently only one death has been reported, police said.

From Seymour police:

Heroin warning posted late Tuesday night on Seymour Police Department Facebook page:

Seymour Police Department has learned a shipment of heroin has caused seven confirmed and nine possible overdoses in the Jennings County area in the last couple of hours. PLEASE spread the word, if you know anyone that may come in contact with this heroin please warn them!!! You may save their life!! At this time we have not been advised of the condition of the individuals involved.

Posted by Seymour police:

Heroin warning by Seymour police
Heroin warning by Seymour police

This story will be updated.

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