Two sailors found dead from apparent drug overdoses

UPDATE 10/18 — Navy says deaths were likely caused by drug overdoses.

Kingsland police are investigating the deaths of two active duty sailors after they both were found dead at the same house within four days.

Brian Jarrell, 25, of St. Marys was found dead Oct. 12 in Ty Bell’s home on Spinnaker Court in Kingsland. On Oct. 16, Bell, 26, was also found dead in his house. The investigations into their deaths are ongoing with support from Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Both sailors died of apparent drug overdoses, according to a statement from U.S. Navy Submarine Forces public affairs.

 “Prior to these two deaths, we have no indication that we have a ‘problem’ with drug abuse in the King Bay or in the submarine force,” according to the statement. “The submarine force is taking these deaths seriously and conducted command-wide urinalysis testing of all Kings Bay-area commands to ensure other sailors are not involved or threatened by the presence of drugs in the community. All commands have also been directed to review their drug testing programs for opportunities to increase various spot checks, i.e., increasing frequency of urinalysis testing, command-wide unit sweeps, shipboard health and comfort inspections.”

Jarrell had been with his family at Disney World the day before his death and told his wife that he wasn’t feeling well, according to KPD incident reports. He left the park at about noon to go to their hotel room but he wasn’t there when his wife returned. She filed a missing person’s report with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and alerted friends who began looking for him in Camden.

One friend saw Jarrell’s car at Bell’s house and called Bell to ask if he could go inside. Bell agreed and the friend found Jarrell laying face down on the floor in a bedroom. He wasn’t breathing and felt cold to the touch.

Four days later, Kingsland police were called back to Bell’s house and spoke with a Navy chief who had sent two sailors to Bell’s house because he hadn’t reported for duty on Oct. 16 and wasn’t answering calls. Looking through the door, the two sailors saw Bell laying on the couch. He didn’t respond to their knocks or calling his name.

Law enforcement and EMS personnel entered the house and noticed a white foamy substance by his nose. He was unresponsive and wasn’t breathing. Death was confirmed at 8:54 a.m., three minutes after KPD arrived.

Bell, a second class petty officer, had been assigned to the USS Wyoming. Jarrell, a first class petty officer, was assigned to Trident Training Facility.

Navy policy requires each submarine command to drug test at least 20 percent of its crew over six random days each month. A maximum of 40 percent of all assigned personnel can be tested each month and commands can do five unit sweeps each fiscal year.

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