Private autopsy conducted in Dupo death

Lori Meyer

After a Dupo woman’s family believed her late January death may have been suspicious due to her residence being the site of many domestic violence calls and the changing stories of a key witness, they hired a private autopsy. 

Now, the results are in. 

Dr. Jane Turner of Virchow Consulting said Lori Meyer, 51, died from acute methamphetamine toxicity – an overdose. 

Turner said she found Meyer also had an enlarged heart. 

“The combination of meth and an enlarged heart can cause sudden cardiac death,” Turner said, noting she is not talking about a heart attack, which is usually caused by coronary artery blockage. 

The St. Clair County Coroner’s report listed “cardiac arrest” and “natural/non-infectious” as Meyer’s suspected cause of death. 

The term “cardiac arrest” typically refers to when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood to the rest of the body and therefore breathing is affected. While heart attacks can trigger cardiac arrests, the two are not synonymous. 

As the coroner’s report noted and Lori’s family has repeatedly mentioned, Lori had many medical issues, including autoimmune conditions. 

In the coroner’s report, St. Clair County Deputy Coroner Tom Boyd wrote that a man at Lori’s house – reportedly at the time of her death – who identified himself as her roommate said Lori had “a medical history of congestive heart failure.” 

Yet, Turner said Lori’s heart problems may not be interrelated with her death. 

“The concentration of meth was high enough to cause death without heart disease,” Turner said. 

Turner’s assessment also yielded something Dustin Meyer, Lori’s son who lives in Waterloo, and her brother Scott Larson also found interesting: the methamphetamine did not appear to be metabolized. 

Turner explained that when methamphetamine is broken down in one’s system, it turns into amphetamine. No amphetamine was found in Lori’s body, “suggesting that it was not in her system very long,” Turner said. 

Turner said she could not tell how and when the meth was consumed. 

Fentanyl was also found in Lori’s system, Turner said. 

The exact amount of fentanyl Lori ingested is not certain. Because fentanyl concentration increases with time after death, the level of fentanyl in Lori’s system is likely less than what was reported in the toxicology lab, Turner explained. 

Dustin said Turner’s findings alarmed him. He previously told the Republic-Times he had never witnessed or heard of his mother using illegal substances. 

A police report concerning the family fearing Lori’s house may have been broken into after her death mentioned another person said they were living at Lori’s residence along with the roommate present at the scene of her death. 

All names in the report were redacted, but one individual was said to have used heroin and fentanyl to dull chronic pain. 

A supplemental police report to the one about Lori’s death said one of the roommates had also mentioned Lori using illegal substances. 

Dustin said his mother was prescribed drugs for pain management, so she would not have needed to use illegal substances. 

Dustin and Larson had both said they heard multiple reiterations of what happened the night of Lori’s death. 

The coroner’s report said the roommate present on scene said a man who police confirmed had previously been arrested and charged with domestic battery and violating orders of protection against Lori had been at the residence when Lori died. 

Boyd wrote the roommate approached him and Dustin with concerns this man may have choked Lori, but said that after further examination and talking with police at the scene, this did not seem to be the case. 

The other story Dustin and Larson heard was that Lori may have been drugged with illegal substances. 

Larson said he is concerned about this, but said at this time it is not known how and when the substances were ingested – just as Turner said. 

Both Dupo Police Chief Dennis Plew and St. Clair County Coroner Calvin Dye said they will not comment until they view the official autopsy report. As of press time, the coroner’s office had not recieved the report.

Because charges were not filed in connection with Lori’s death, the Republic-Times is not including the names of the men believed to have been at Lori’s house when she died and the second person who said they were Lori’s second roommate.

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Scott Woodsmall

HTC web