Heroin overdose claims 20-year-old Lawrenceville man

Clayton Smith

Clayton Smith


Zachary Boughan


Omawumi Igbinadolor

SNELLVILLE -- At first police were befuddled, standing over what appeared to be a young man having a medical emergency in the back of a Honda Civic, which was parked in a Snellville driveway. Then an officer noticed the telltale orange caps of syringes.

The unconscious man next to the syringe caps Sunday night was 20-year-old Stephen Cardiges, of Lawrenceville, who would be transported to Eastside Medical Center and pronounced dead. Cardiges's friends told police he had injected heroin in the Honda and quit breathing, according to a police report. His 21st birthday would have been Tuesday.

After police separated witnesses and gathered their accounts, four young people were arrested, three of them in connection with heroin possession.

The Oak Meadow Drive home in question was the scene of an 88-year-old woman's unsolved murder three years ago. One of the heroin suspects, Zach Boughan, 18, is the murder victim's great-grandson.

While Snellville police have drawn no connection between the two deaths, department spokesman Sgt. Trey Downs said a probe is ongoing.

"At this time, the incident is still under investigation, and any further comment could hinder the investigation," Downs said.

Boughan told police he was home about 8:30 p.m. Sunday with his grandparents and another teen when Clayton Smith, 19, of Lawrenceville, called to say Cardiges had overdosed in the car. Boughan discouraged them from coming to his home, but when they arrived, everyone hurried to the driveway to help, the report states.

Smith gave police the syringe used to inject the drug. When pressed, the Honda's driver, Omawumi Igbinadolor, 21, of Grayson, handed over two plastic baggies of heroin to police at the scene, the report states.

Boughan posted $5,700 bond Monday and was released from the Gwinnett County Jail, while Smith and Igbinadolor remain jailed on similar bond amounts.

Police also arrested Emma Heath, 18, of Snellville, who had an outstanding arrest warrant for shoplifting. Heath was inside the home with Boughan and his family and called police upon seeing Cardiges's condition, the report states.

The address is a familiar one to Snellville police.

In January 2009, Boughan's great-grandmother, Beulah Gotwalt, was fatally stabbed multiple times in a ground-floor den that had been converted to her bedroom. She was the oldest homicide victim in Snellville history, and the oldest in Gwinnett in modern times.

Police found no signs of forced entry, and nothing was stolen. The murder weapon has not been recovered.

Snellville police have said the case has remained open and is being diligently investigated. No charges have been brought.

Gotwalt had moved from her native Pennsylvania about four years prior to her death to live with her daughter, Nancy Boughan, her son-in-law and Zach Boughan. All three were home the night Gotwalt was slain, and her daughter found her body the next morning, investigators have said.

At the anniversary of Gotwalt's killing this year, neighbors described the home as gathering place for teens to carouse and sell drugs. A man reached at the Boughan home Tuesday said the family is not at liberty to discuss the situation this week.


roaads1 2 years, 11 months ago

Did Trey win his election? Just wondering.


TOWG 2 years, 11 months ago

Gee whiz, this sounds just like one of the plot lines of Tarantino's film "Pulp Fiction". Sad that Mr. Cardiges wasn't as lucky as Uma Thurmans character. Maybe if the neighbors had called the police each and everytime they observed something suspicious Mr. Cardiges could have been saved from his own stupidity. Don't tolerate people like this crowd in your neighborhoods!


collins09 2 years, 11 months ago

These cases aren't tied together at all. Stephen made his own choices and was never forced to do the things he did. The resident of the Snellville home wasn't even with the others during any of the activities prior to Stephen's overdose. Don't believe everything you read, because people, even cops, exaggerate things.


notblind 2 years, 11 months ago

If you feel peer pressure to do stupid things to your body then it's a sign you need some new peers.

Sad tale of a young man that lost his way. RIP.


OMR 2 years, 11 months ago

A few of my friends' younger siblings knew this kid, the whole thing is tragedy. I also grew up in Oak Meadow and I warned young Zachary multiple times that the route he was going on would either get himself killed or get people he loved killed. Well, now the latter has happened twice... I fear the former will happen far too soon.


BillR 2 years, 11 months ago

As a parent of a child who has also been involved with heroin and other drug usage my heart and prayers go out to his family. It seems no matter what we as parents do we can never completely educate our children on the dangers of the choices they are confronted with each day. In my case, my child seemed to slip away to the dark side of drug usage much like the imperceptible movement of the minute hand on a clock. Yes, the signs were there and try as I might nothing could stop the slide into this world of drug usage.

At times like these we need not blame the person for their choices or second guess what others could have done differently. We need sincere compassion for a mother and father who have lost a son.


jsy1987 2 years, 11 months ago

I can't believe the stuff about Zach's great-grandmother being murdered was even mentioned in this article. What does the murder of an 88 year old woman have to do with the poor decision of a troubled young man? Why not mention the fact that this is at least the third time Stephen over-dosed on heroin? This is a very sad event in the lives of everyone involved in this and i hope everyone else recognizes that. May your prayers be with his parents, brother, aunts and uncle, cousin, and friends who are deeply saddened during this tough time.


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