Metro-East News

Police continue to investigate Trenton woman's heroin overdose death

Trump’s opioid announcement gives Trenton couple hope

After President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency Thursday, a metro-east family who lost their daughter to a heroin overdose is hoping his proclamation will prompt policy and legislation changes.
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After President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency Thursday, a metro-east family who lost their daughter to a heroin overdose is hoping his proclamation will prompt policy and legislation changes.

Police say they are continuing their investigation into the death of a Trenton woman who died of a heroin overdose.

Zoë Conley, 20, died after a long battle with heroin addiction on May 24.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request earlier this month, Trenton Police Chief Chris Joellenbeck denied access to investigation documents on grounds that the case remained open.

"The death investigation of Zoë Conley on May 24, 2017 in Trenton, IL is under investigation and said disclosure would interfere with said investigation," he wrote in a letter dated April 5.

Joellenbeck could not be reached by phone to comment on the request's denial.

“Zoë suffered for most of her teenaged years from a heroin addiction, a disease that finally took her life after many attempts at recovery,” an obituary stated last year. The Trenton Sun is owned and operated by her parents, Mike and Sybil Conley.

Her parents did not respond to a request for comment. They did, however, issue a statement in May after her death.

“We are aware of the investigation but it is not the focus of our thoughts at this time. We want to mourn our daughter, and to eventually try to make some contribution to the recovery of other addicts,” the Conleys said in the statement. “The involvement of law enforcement is an important component in the fight against addiction, but we believe a better understanding among the public about the nature and the effects of the disease of addiction are equally valuable.”

Some police agencies and coroners across the country have begun to treat every heroin-overdose death as a homicide. In Illinois, a person who provides illegal drugs that cause a death can be charged with drug-induced homicide, a class X felony.

Dana Rieck: 618-239-2642, @ByDanaRieck
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