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Coroner: Nathan Millard's death ruled an accident; cocaine and fentanyl found in his system
BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Coroner's Office has ruled Nathan Millard's death an accident, attributing it to the combined effects of cocaine, fentanyl and ethanol.
The autopsy findings released Tuesday seemingly confirmed earlier reports suggesting that Millard died from an overdose after a night of heavy drug use. The presence of ethanol indicated that Millard had also been drinking before his death.
The report comes less than a week after an arrest warrant revealed Millard was allegedly with two prostitutes — identified as Tabbetha Barner and Tiffany Guidry — when he died at a run-down drug house in old south Baton Rouge. One of those women has since been arrested, with police still searching for the second.
Police took Guidry into custody Friday, saying that they found her standing on the corner of Nicholson Drive and Terrace Avenue after getting a tip that same morning.
The allegations against the women were laid out in arrest warrants filed after detectives interviewed Derrick Perkins, an accused drug dealer who was booked last week week on charges related to dumping Millard's body and illegally using the man's debit card.
In that interview, Perkins alleged that he initially picked up Millard and two other people — identified in police documents only as "L.M." and "C" — on Convention Street in the early morning hours of Feb. 23. Perkins said all three were looking for drugs and that they drove around in his car for hours "getting high" on crack cocaine, police wrote in one warrant.
The group eventually stopped at a Circle K gas station on Nicholson Drive a little after 4 a.m., with everyone but Perkins going inside. Perkins explained that Millard had gone inside to get cash from an ATM but walked back to the car and asked Perkins to take him somewhere else because he feared that L.M. and C were trying to "set him up to rob him." Perkins and Millard left the gas station, at which point Perkins claims that Millard told him he wanted a "white girl" and "to go somewhere safe," according to the warrant.
Click here to read about the bizarre, anonymous phone call Nathan Millard's family received after his disappearance
Perkins went on to say that he and Millard first picked up Guidry, alleged to be a known prostitute, in that same area. The three then went to a convenience store on Lorri Burgess Avenue so Millard could withdraw cash before heading to a house just blocks away on that same street. Once there, Millard reportedly told Perkins he wanted more "white girls," prompting Perkins to go pick up Barner from her home.
Once Perkins brought Barner back to the house on Lorri Burgess Avenue, he claims he had to step outside because Millard and the women started shooting up drugs with a syringe, telling police that he cringes when people use drugs intravenously.
"They were all up in there doing that s***. I don't f*** with that s***," Perkins reportedly said during the police interview.
Perkins said all three then asked him to go pick up some miscellaneous items from a nearby store using Millard's debit card, though Millard would not give Perkins his pin and told him to run it as credit. When he came back, Perkins told police he smoked crack cocaine on the front porch while he waited for the three to finish having sex.
At some point after sunrise, Perkins said Barner asked him to go pick up more drugs. When he arrived back at the property on Lorri Burgess Avenue, he claims Barner ran out of the house saying that Millard was dead.
Perkins said Barner would leave and then come back with a brown pack and bottle alleged to be Narcan, a drug used to reverse overdoses, and used it on Millard. Barner reportedly told him that Millard "was alright" and "would be good," but Perkins said the man still wouldn't wake up. After unsuccessfully trying to administer CPR, Perkins said the two women told him he had to "get rid of the body." He claims Barner left at this point.
The accused drug dealer then told police he "panicked" and had Guidry help him roll up Millard in the rug he was lying on when he died. They then loaded the body into the trunk of Perkins' car.
He said they eventually disposed of Millard's body at a vacant lot along Scenic Highway, where the remains were found on March 6. Perkins told detectives that he believed whatever Barner gave Millard is what caused his death, saying that she "uses any drug that is available to her," police wrote.
After disposing of the body, Perkins claims he sold off the car to some unknown men in Baton Rouge's Dixie neighborhood and blamed them for torching the vehicle, which was later found burned not far from where Millard's body was dumped.
When officers later questioned Barner, she claimed she had never met Millard and said that Perkins showed up at her home that morning looking for Narcan. She also claims she tried to go with Perkins to help but that she couldn't because Guidry was already in the front passenger seat of the car and that the backseat was too cluttered to sit down.
Barner told police that she wouldn't see Perkins again until around 11 a.m. that morning when she found him using Millard's card at a convenience store on Highland Road. She alleges she left the store with Perkins and Guidry, reportedly getting in the backseat this time, hoping to "get her fix."
When they arrived at the house on Lorri Burgess Avenue, she claims she never went inside and walked off after realizing that Perkins had no drugs for her. She added that she heard Perkins remark that he had to "go check on dude" and said she later realized it was Millard inside after seeing news reports and hearing about Perkins' involvement from "people in the streets."
Barner and Guidry face charges of prostitution and failure to seek assistance. Guidry was booked on an additional charge of unlawful disposal of remains.
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