An accidental drug overdose killed the transgender person who died at a South Boston apartment complex where four children were removed in June, the state medical examiner’s office said.
The cause of death was determined to be “acute intoxication due to the combined effects of cocaine and methamphetamine,” a spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner told the Herald on Monday.
The manner of death is listed as an accident.
A city death certificate identifies the victim as Giovanni Murray, a 26-year-old man described in a Boston Police Department report as a “male to female transgender” person.
The Suffolk District Attorney’s office is “conducting a standard death investigation” of what the medical examiner ruled to be a drug overdose, “as well as a fact-finding inquiry into other issues present in the incident,” a spokesperson for the DA Kevin Hayden told the Herald.
The spokesperson declined to say what those “other issues” pertain to.
The June 17 death at 381 Old Colony Ave., otherwise known as the Mary Ellen McCormack public housing complex, drew conflicting reports from the Boston Police and Fire Departments.
Both, however, filed 51A child abuse or neglect reports with the Department of Children and Families.
What was agreed upon was that the Boston Fire Department and EMS both responded first to a report of an unconscious person at the apartment.
The fire department reported at the time that the person had gone into cardiac arrest from an apparent drug overdose, a matter that police appeared to dispute in a statement it made days after the incident occurred.
“Information that drugs and other concerning materials were strewn about the home is not supported by what officers encountered or by the information received on scene,” the police department said at the time.
Mayor Michelle Wu made similar statements, debunking some of what was reported by the fire department — prompting an impassioned defense from the head of the fire union — several city councilors and the media, including the Herald.
City Councilor Michael Flaherty had said he was “informed by people at the scene that there were drugs, alcohol, sex toys all around the apartment as well as a dead body on the floor.”
He also stated that the dead body was from an “apparent overdose,” and a man “wearing a wig claiming to be the father of the kids” was found in the backroom.
Wu and City Councilor Kendra Lara were critical of these statements, saying that they were inflaming anti-transgender rhetoric and misgendering the people involved.
The fire department indicated the other adults present with the four children were transgender as well, saying in its report that, “approximately six adults, who appeared to be males were in the apartment.”
The department’s report also said the apartment was “in extreme unsanitary conditions,” and the adults present were uncooperative. Police refuted this, saying that the adults were “fully cooperative with responding officers.
The four children, ages 5-10, were taken into custody by the Department of Children and Families after both police and fire filed 51A neglect forms, and remained there for at least a week, a DCF spokesperson previously confirmed.
It’s unclear what the third responding agency reported, as an EMS trip report provided to the Herald following a public records request, was almost entirely redacted, due to privacy and medical exemptions.