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.