YAKIMA, Wash. — A toxicology screen has confirmed that a panhandler found dead in his car outside the downtown Yakima Taco Bell with $1,725 and a half-pound of heroin died from a drug overdose.
Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins said recently completed toxicology testing in the New Year’s Day death of 56-year-old Douglas D. Budd found high levels of cocaine and heroin in the man’s system.
The finding reinforces evidence at the scene suggesting Budd died almost instantly from a drug overdose. Police said Budd still had a hypodermic needle in his arm and had spilled a strawberry drink on himself.
Police said Budd had $1,725 in cash on his person as well as a half-pound of heroin.
Those discoveries would seem to be incongruous with Budd’s habit of panhandling at the intersection of First Street and Nob Hill Boulevard, one of the city’s busiest corners.
However, police said many panhandlers are not really down on their luck and that Budd was already under investigation at the time of his death for alleged drug-dealing activity.
City officials said no one yet has laid claim to Budd’s cash, which the city intends to seek by forfeiture once a 45-day claim period expires at the end of the month. The city has been periodically running legal ads about the forfeiture claim since last month.
The heroin will sit in evidence storage until the next regularly scheduled destruction date, a spokesman for the Yakima Police Department said.