Salem cops probe possible drug-related death at Body Shop

SALEM — The Salem Police Department is investigating a possible drug-related death after finding the owner of The Body Shop, 406 W. State St., dead inside the business Thursday morning.

Detective Dave Talbert identified the deceased as Herman Gray III, 35, of Salem, who appeared to be residing at the shop. Police were called at 9:02 a.m. Thursday to check his well-being at the building at the corner of West State and Jennings after a caller said he had not been able to reach him.

According to Talbert, the blinds were down so no one could see inside, but people knew he was in there and an acquaintance forced his way into the shop after police arrived, with Gray found unresponsive. The Salem Fire Department, EMT Ambulance, the Columbiana County Coroner’s Office and the city humane officer were all called to the scene.

“We did find evidence of drug usage,” he said, adding they confiscated drug paraphernalia. “We’ll wait to see what toxicology says as to whether or not we need to send those to the lab.”

The coroner’s office is investigating and part of that includes toxicology testing for any drugs in the person’s system.

Talbert said Gray was last seen around 9 a.m. Wednesday by a woman who said he wasn’t feeling well while she was there and she had witnessed him using drugs. Talbert wouldn’t get specific about the type of drugs involved or what drug paraphernalia was taken from the property. There was no indication of foul play.

The humane officer had been called to take care of a pit bull dog police found inside a cage at the business.