Oktibbeha County Coroner Michael Hunt concluded former MSU student Teresa Veal’s death was caused by ingesting a combination of heroin and cocaine, commonly referred to as a speedball.
Starkville Police Department officers arrested Lance Kennedy, 20, and charged him with multiple counts of drug possession after Veal’s death, SPD Chief David Lindley said.
Kennedy’s counts include possession of marijuana, Xanax, heroin and cocaine. Officers also seized scales, drug paraphernalia and $700. Kennedy, who was arrested Feb. 7, posted $100,000 bond and has been released from custody. He is scheduled to appear in Starkville Municipal Court Thursday at 2 p.m.
Kennedy’s listed residence is apartment No. 7 at the Dawgs Landing complex on Louisville Street where Veal was found deceased.
Veal, whose home residence is 100 Camden Court in Madison, lived at the Highland Estates apartment complex in the Clayton Village area at the time of her death. It was originally reported that Veal lived at the Dawgs Landing complex.
Veal, a member of Pi Beta Phi’s Mississippi Gamma Chapter, was a senior at MSU.
Lindley said the department said the mixture of stimulants and sedatives can be lethal, be it with legal or illegal drugs.
“The mixing of a stimulant and a sedative is not as unusual as most people would think. They are quite frequently mixed with a combination of legal substances, for instance energy drinks and alcohol,” Lindley said. “It’s important people understand when you take a stimulant and a sedative that the stimulant will wear off faster than the sedative will, so the stimulant keeps you alert ... and then wears off and the sedative kicks in. Once the upper wears off and the downer of the sedative kicks in it can have a deadly effect to shut your system down.”
He said the incident is a tragedy and wanted to use it to notify people what brought about her death in hopes that it might keep someone else from engaging in potentially harmful activity.
“It’s a tragedy that this occurred. We’re trying to work with the victim’s parents. We’ve talked with them, and they stated that if we could have any effect on anyone else who may be using illegal drugs or considering this to make it public what brought about this young lady’s death in hopes that it might keep someone else from doing a similar thing,” he said. “Something we’re trying to make everybody aware of is if you experiment with mixing or using chemicals and drugs that you are taking an inordinate risk with your life. The most common problem SPD faces, the most consistent crime we deal with are drugs and alcohol. Being a university town, we’re always trying to warn our young people in the community that these temptations are out there.
“Young people are here to get an education, be a part of our community; they have a lot of freedom due to the fact that they are here without parental supervision, and it is incumbent upon them to use good judgement,” he said. “Some do not, and it can have tragic consequences as in this case. What we’re trying to do is take a tragic death, an unnecessary death that has occurred with one of our young students and hope there is some good that can come out of it as far as it being a warning to others not to take these risks and chances.”
He said the final results of the autopsy are still to be received, and he hopes lessons can be learned from the night’s events.
“We try to do everything we can to get people to comply with the legal parameters that are set to protect people from themselves, but sometimes things like this occur,” he said. “It’s always very unpleasant, and we appreciate the fact that Ms. Veal’s parents wanted to work with us in making these notifications and releases and pleas for young people to realize this could can happen to anyone.”