Sheriff: Drugs linked to Payne death investigation

Photo of Andrew J. Martin provided by the Paulding County Sheriff's Department.
Photo of Andrew J. Martin provided by the Paulding County Sheriff’s Department.

PAYNE, Ohio (WANE) – An arrest has been made in the death investigation of a Payne, Ohio man, according to the Paulding County Sheriff’s Department.

The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office said Andrew J. Martin, 26, of Payne was arrested Sunday on preliminary felony charges of illegal manufacturing of drugs and corrupting another with drugs.

Photo of the house at 202 East Townline Street, where police are investigating a suspicious death.
Photo of the house at 202 East Townline Street, where police are investigating a suspicious death.

Deputies were called to 202 E. Townline St. in the Village of Payne around 10:25 a.m. Saturday. Officers found Cary Parsons, 50, dead in his kitchen.

Sheriff Jason Landers said Monday that Martin may have provided drugs to Parsons, which could have contributed to his death.

“It is our belief Mr. Martin provided a controlled substance that he manufactured to Mr. Parsons, which we believe might have contributed to the death of Mr. Parsons,” Landers said in a statement. “As the investigation continues, I feel more criminal charges will be considered by the Prosecuting Attorney.”

The coroner is now trying to determine how Parsons died, but Landers said, “Our initial assessment of this death has developed some concerns.”

The Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations Crime Scene Investigative Unit has been called in to help with the investigation.

There have been a lot of rumors swirling around in the tiny village of less than 2000 people, but Sheriff Landers said much of that is misinformation that is simply not true.

“With small towns develops a lot of conversations and rumors and once one story is told, it changes a little bit. So, I’ve heard everything from a family member shot another family member to the body had been laying there for days, and those things just aren’t accurate. We do have a death investigation. We do believe it’s related to drugs, and we’re getting control of the investigation. I do think we’re going to get to a conclusion soon,” Landers said. “We’re on the right path. The guys have done a really good job investigating. There’s been a lot of agencies that have worked together to get us where we’re at, so the investigation is not concluded at this point. It’s still ongoing. We’re getting the prosecutor involved, and it’s just an unfortunate incident.”

Several neighbors said Parsons just got custody of his 14-year-old son last week. They also said his son went to a hospital on Saturday. Sheriff Landers will only confirm that a juvenile went to a hospital.
He couldn’t say if it was drug-related or even if the juvenile is Parson’s son. However, he did say this case sheds light on a much larger drug issue.

“We have an issue with drug abuse, obviously, I believe. I don’t think it’s just Paulding County, Ohio that has that problem. I think it’s across the nation and trying to address it is very difficult. We can take off one player, and two more pop up. It’s very tough to get ahold of. So, we try to be pretty aggressive with it and hold people accountable for the decisions they make. When you start doing what we believe happened here and actually manufacturing things to cause people to go to their happy place, we’ve got to be real aggressive with that and send a strong message here that we’re not going to tolerate that,” Landers said.

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