Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on November 4, 2021, David Belk, 45, and Stephanie O’Neill, 44, both of Little Egg Harbor, were indicted by a Grand Jury sitting in Ocean County on the following charges: Strict Liability Drug Induced Death in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-9a; Endangering the Welfare of a Child in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(2); Distribution of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C: 35-5a(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3); Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C: 35-5a(1) and N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3), and Possession of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1), in connection with the death of a sixteen-year-old male in Little Egg Harbor on July 3, 2021.
On July 3, 2021, Officers from the Little Egg Harbor Police Department were summoned to a residence on East Susquehanna Drive for a report of an unresponsive sixteen-year-old male lying on the floor. Responding Officers immediately administered lifesaving techniques; the young man was transported to Hackensack Meridian Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, where he was subsequently pronounced deceased.
An investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit and Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department Detective Bureau discovered Heroin and Fentanyl at the residence. Further investigation and toxicology analysis received by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the presence of Heroin and Fentanyl in the victim’s system. Based upon the toxicology analysis, the Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office opined that the Heroin and Fentanyl found in the victim’s system was the cause of his death. As a consequence, Belk and O’Neill were charged with Strict Liability Drug Induced Death on August 26, 2021.
On August 26, 2021, O’Neill was taken into custody and was released by the court on home detention pursuant to New Jersey Bail Reform. On August 27, 2021, Belk was apprehended in Atlantic City by the New Jersey Transit Police, and has been lodged in the Ocean County Jail since his apprehension.
Prosecutor Billhimer would like to acknowledge the diligent efforts of Senior Assistant Prosecutor Mara Brater who is handling the case on behalf of the State and commends the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vitim Witness Advocacy Unit, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department Detective Bureau, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department Patrol Division, Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation.
The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. R.P.C.3.6(b)(6).