Police Say Two Mysterious Deaths Not Linked

December 20, 2005 – Posted at 5:12 p.m. CST

FULTON COUNTY, AR -- Arkansas State Police and Fulton County authorities are investigating the deaths of two young men who died over the weekend. An 18-year-old Salem High School student and a 23-year-old Salem man were found dead on Saturday morning both around the same time. And both deaths come as a shock to the small town of Salem with less than 2,000 people.
“It's highly unusual to have two individuals this young and that were this healthy at exactly the same time,” said Fulton County Sheriff Al Roork.
Saturday morning around 7:30, 23-year-old James Nathan Davis was found dead on his grandmother’s couch. About the same time that 18-year-old Thomas "TJ" Pleasant Jr. was found dead in his bed.
“I knew both of these individuals, they were very nice young men,” said Roork.
Pleasant was a senior at Salem High School with a 3.5 GPA and was active in various clubs. He was recently accepted to ASU and worked at a local restaurant and a local pharmacy.
“TJ was a good student not only that he made good grades but he was intelligent he did anything teachers asked him to do,” said Salem High School Principal Wayne Guiltner.
With two young men dying in the span of 24 hours a number of rumors are racing through this small town.
“There is a lot of innuendos and gossip that is going around in our community,” said Roork, “We have not had other people that overdosed that night and we do not have more than two that are deceased.”
As of now police have not identified a cause for the two deaths but think they are unrelated. However, there has been a history of residents in the area mixing prescription drugs.
“Unfortunately what some people are doing is mixing prescription drugs and it is a more dangerous scenario than street drugs,” said Roork.
An investigation is underway by the Salem Police Department, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department and the Arkansas State Police.
“I don't know at this point and I don't like to guess,” said Roork.
The bodies have been sent to the state crime lab in Little Rock for autopsies and toxicology tests, but it could be several months before the Salem police find out the results of those tests because of a backlog at the crime lab.