Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer and Captain James Hawkins of the Little Egg Harbor Police Department announced that on August 26, 2021, David Belk, 45, and Stephanie O’Neill, 44, both of Little Egg Harbor, were charged with Strict Liability Drug Induced Death in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-9a, relative to the death of a sixteen-year-old male in Little Egg Harbor on July 3, 2021. Belk and O’Neill were also charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4a(2), Possession of Heroin with Intent to Distribute in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5b(3), and Possession of Heroin in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:35-10a(1).
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 determined that Belk and O’Neill supplied Heroin and Fentanyl to the victim. Further investigation and toxicology analysis recently 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.
O’Neill was taken into custody and is currently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing. A warrant has been issued for Belk’s arrest, and his name has been placed in the National Crime Information Center database. Anyone with information concerning Belk’s whereabouts – or any information at all regarding this investigation – is urged to contact Detective Brant Uricks of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-929-2027, or Detective Christopher Arciniegas of the Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department at 609-296-3666.
Prosecutor Billhimer and Captain Hawkins commend the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime 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.