Witness to professor's death claims heroin use

By Candace Chapman
By Dave Greber
By Matt Porter

February 14, 2014 Updated Feb 14, 2014 at 8:05 PM EDT

Owego, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A person with SUNY Broome Associate Professor Wesley Warren claimed the two used heroin before he died Sunday. That's according to a report by the Tioga County Sheriff's Office released to Action News Thursday.

The witness -- a man -- was interviewed by the sheriff's office, and his statement was included in the report. However, his name and other identifying information was redacted and not released.

Just before 2 a.m., Feb 9, emergency responders were called to Warren's home at 15 Jennifer Lane where they found him in front of a couch.

After attempts to use an automated external defibrillator and CPR to revive him, the Campville Squad called Warren's death around 2:20 am.

The man who called 911 said while the two were watching TV, Warren did four lines of heroin. He also said Warren offered a line to him and he accepted.

The man noticed Warren turned pale and tried to wake him, but Warren was not responsive.

According to the sheriff's office report, the person took investigators to a cupboard in the kitchen where they saw four blue glassine packets. The man stated the packets contained heroin. Those packets along with a razor blade and straw were taken as evidence.

The sheriff's office said there was no official cause of death as of Thursday. An autopsy was performed at Lourdes Hospital, but toxicology results may not be back for several weeks.

Investigators added the substance in the packets collected cannot be accurately tested until the toxicology results are known.

Warren, 49, had been the chairman of the Criminal Justice and Homeland Security program at SUNY Broome until the current semester. He was a professor for nearly 8 years at the local college.

SUNY Broome only learned of the circumstances in the past few days, President Dr. Kevin Drumm released a statement Thursday afternoon.

"We are shocked and saddened by the news of his passing and moreover we were stunned to learn of the circumstances surrounding his death," Drumm said. "Professor Warren was such a positive influence on campus and in the community that it makes it all the more difficult to come to grips with the circumstances of his passing."

The college said Warren's death has given them more reason to deal with the difficult realities of drug addiction.

"It is imperative that we continue to explore and work together to see how we might make more of a difference in our community around the many issues impacting the Southern Tier, including drug use and abuse," Drumm said.

SUNY Broome Vice President Dr. Francis L. Battisti said the investigation does not overshadow what Warren brought to SUNY Broome.

"I think the really key point is that it doesn't overshadow who he was as a person," Battisti said. "That's the important piece. We can get all sensationalized with stuff. But still, he was human being who touched a lot of us."

The school is planning a variety of workshops and events on drug abuse, including a special workshop for employees of SUNY Broome.