Families seek answers in loved ones deaths

Families seek answers in loved ones deaths

PAMLICO COUNTY - Two Pamlico County men die from a suspected drug overdose. Their deaths more than a month a part but under nearly identical circumstances.

The man family members believe contributed to their loved ones deaths was arrested and charged this weekend but family members want to know why charges didn't come sooner.

Stacy Franklin lost her husband and Hugh Barnes lost his son.

They both died inside a Pamlico County home on Highway 55. Thirty-one year old James Williams allegedly supplied the men with heroin.

Jamie Franklin died in July and Daniel Barnes died Saturday, August 31st. Both times deputies said Williams was at the home. This weekend Williams was arrested on charges on trafficking heroin but has not been charged in two men's deaths.

"I don't want nobody else to have to go through what we're going through," said Daniel's father, Hugh Barnes.

Pamlico County Sheriff Billy Sawyer, says without autopsy and toxicology reports back they don't yet have an official cause connecting Williams to the deaths. Documents from the Pamlico County Clerk of Court's Office say, "defendant is under investigation for overdoses that led to a couple of deaths."

Family members wonder if charges had been brought sooner against Williams maybe one life could have been saved. As of this weekend Williams is charged with trafficking heroin and maintaining a dwelling for it's use and distribution. Even though no one has been charged in the men's deaths yet, NewsChannel12 asked Sheriff Sawyer why these charges didn't comes sooner.

What's different now? Why was he {Williams} arrested now and not back then {July}? NewsChannel12's Leland Pinder inquired of the sheriff.

"There's not a thing different except that a pattern had been established. I spoke with the district attorney the morning of the second death. They agreed that a pattern had been established. They instructed to charge him with maintaining a dwelling which I did and he was arrested," said the sheriff.

The United States Attorney's office is also investigating Williams. The sheriff says that limits what he can say about this case right now. But says he is actively working this case and other drug cases in the county.

"I have proven to you sitting here that these arrests have been made, they've been being made. They're going to continue being made," said Sheriff Sawyer.

In the meantime a grieving wife and a grieving father are hoping no one else will have to experience what they are going through.

"How many more have to die? asked Hugh Barnes. "Something has to change," said Stacy Franklin.

James Williams is being held in the Pamlico County Jail under $1 million bond.

PREVIOUS STORY: The Pamilco County Sheriff's Office says a man has been arrested for trafficking heroin.

James Williams is charged with two counts of maintaining a vehicle or dwelling for use, storage or sale of a controlled substance which is a felony.

The sheriff's office says Williams was arrested after someone died at his home Saturday due to a drug overdose.

Williams was taken into custody from his home near Reelsboro. Stay with Newschannel12 as we gather more details about his arrest.

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