“I know my son didn’t overdose,” Kevin McDevitt Sr. insists.
But that’s what an Atlantic County medical examiner ruled in 2010 after Kevin McDevitt Jr., 21, was found dead in an Atlantic City motel.
Kevin Jr. didn’t do drugs, his parents said. They wonder how a mix that included lethal doses of heroin and cocaine was found in his blood. The levels could be deadly even to a regular drug user, one pathologist said.
After his death, thousands of dollars were charged to Kevin Jr.'s bank card, and calls were made to an unknown number.
Three people were indicted in the theft last year. In May, one was indicted on charges of providing the drugs that killed the Tuxedo, New York, man.
The more Kevin and Theresa McDevitt heard about their son’s death, the more questions they had and the more inconsistencies they saw from authorities.
The grieving parents today mark the fourth anniversary of Kevin Jr.’s death by starting a website asking for answers at unsolved-atlantic-city-killing.com.
“These pages represent a final, desperate step by the McDevitts after years seeking answers in the death of their son, about whom no evidence has ever been produced to them indicating hard drug use or experimentation until his unbelievable multi-drug overdose,” the site reads.
It tells a twisting tale of secretive law enforcement, conflicting statements and even pictures of the same crime scene: one with Kevin’s body on a made bed in a cleaned room; the other with a filled trash can and the body on folded-down sheets. There was an unidentified man allegedly seen “helping” Kevin into the Rodeway Inn on South North Carolina Avenue.
They want to know how a third-semester criminal justice major could wind up in a motel room rented by an accused human trafficker listed on the New Jersey State Police website as one of the state’s 12 most wanted.
When McDevitt was first found dead, Atlantic City police told The Press of Atlantic City it was a nonsuspicious overdose death.
Since then, charges have come against the alleged pimp, Dewight Greer, who rented the room, and two women who are accused of prostitution and theft. They are scheduled to appear in court next week.
Because the case is pending, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said he could not comment.
A grand jury indicted Greer, 40, this year on nine counts, including drug-induced death, under the state’s strict liability statute.
The first-degree charge holds a drug supplier responsible for the death in fatal overdoses. Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato has been using it to battle a growing heroin problem. The 28-year-old law has been rarely used.
Greer didn’t merely supply the drugs, the McDevitts charge. They believe drugs were used to rob Kevin Jr. and get his bank card’s PIN.
The autopsy found no signs of trauma or intravenous injection sites, according to the Sept. 1, 2010, report by then-Atlantic County Medical Examiner Hydow Park.
Two weeks later, Park used toxicology results to determine the cause of death as “multiple combined drug intoxication” and manner of death as “accidental.”
Pathologist David Fowler, Maryland’s chief medical examiner, whom the McDevitt’s hired to look over the reports, agreed with the cause of death but not the manner.
“Accident is a totally unforeseen and unexpected event,” he wrote.
But the presence of the mix of drugs could be fatal even in someone “with a developed tolerance.”
“The manner of death in this case is best certified as undetermined (since) homicide cannot be excluded as this time and additional investigation is needed to exclude the actions of another resulting in his death,” Fowler wrote.
In the hours — and even couple of days — after Kevin Jr.’s death, thousands of dollars were spent on his ATM card, mostly to Rite-Aid stores in Atlantic City and one in Pleasantville, records show. Four visits to the A.C. Bar and Grill totaling more than $400 were made between Aug. 31, and Sept. 4, 2010.
Kevin Jr. and his friends hadn’t planned to come to Atlantic City. They were late to meet some girls, so they decided to head to the resort, where the father of one of the men had a room at the Tropicana Casino and Resort.
Calling for directions, Kevin Jr. damaged his car pulling over, Theresa said. The oil pan was ripped from under his car, which was towed to Pleasantville. The friend’s father picked them up, and they went to the Tropicana.
But when Kevin Jr. found his friends had drunk a bottle of Jack Daniels he brought, there was a fight, and he left the room, his parents say they’ve been told.
They didn’t realize until later that Kevin had taken the shoe box that held his belongings with him, Theresa said one of the boys told her.
He called his mother five times — several dropped calls — to say he was taking the bus home and would need a ride back to Pleasantville to pick up his car.
The last call came in at 3:13 a.m. Aug. 31, 2010.
“Yes, we can come get you or give you a ride, whatever you need,” Theresa said when she left a message back.
“He was already dead by then,” she said.
A maid coming in to clean Room 207 at the Rodeway Inn found Kevin Jr. unresponsive. Police were called. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The room was registered to Romale Deshun Tyson, according to a copy made of his Florida driver’s license when he paid for the room. But his real name is Dewight Greer, whom New Jersey State Police warn to “consider dangerous” on its website that still lists Greer as a top fugitive, the words “apprehended” stamped over his photo.
The address on the license wasn’t real, Kevin Sr. said.
He knows. He went to Miami looking for the man.
For days, Kevin Sr. would go out from midnight until 6 a.m., searching until “I realized I was putting myself in danger,” he said.
The McDevitts have now lost two of their four children, and their only boy.
In 2006, their youngest, 13-year-old CoriAnn, died in an accident.
Her football-playing brother decided to put his letterman jacket in with his sister’s body. His mother asked if he was sure, since his sister would be cremated.
“I put candy in one pocket and a toy in the other,” he replied. “And yes, I want my sister to have my jacket.”
“He was a very kind, very loving kid,” Theresa says. “That’s who he was.”
His parents say they know how their son lived. Now, they just want to know how he died.
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