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Medical examiner: Drug overdoses caused women's deaths in Lovingston
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Medical examiner: Drug overdoses caused women's deaths in Lovingston

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Nelson County Sheriff's Office and Virginia State Police cars in the parking lot of Lovingston Ridge apartment complex on  Feb. 13 near Ridge Lane in Lovingston.

A preliminary report from the Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond has found that the deaths of a mother and her adult daughter in a Lovingston apartment complex in February were caused by accidental drug overdoses.

Deborah Lee Bruce, 60, of Bedford, and Patricia Michelle Bruce, 38, of Lovingston, were found dead the morning of Feb. 13 at Lovingston Ridge Apartments off U.S. 29 after the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call about two bodies being found. Deborah Bruce was the mother of Patricia Michelle Bruce, according to their obituaries.  

Alvin Hopson, district administrator for the Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner at the Central District office in Richmond, said the preliminary report states Patricia Bruce’s cause of death was combined cocaine and morphine toxicity and the manner of death was accidental. Deborah Bruce’s cause of death was ruled as cocaine toxicity and the manner also was ruled accidental.

In a news release Tuesday noting the Medical Examiner’s Office findings, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office said it will “continue to actively stem the sale and use of illegal narcotics in our community. We ask the community for continued support by always reporting suspicious or illegal activities.”

Sheriff David Hill said the case is still being investigated although foul play is not suspected.

“We appreciate [the community’s] support,” Hill said Tuesday. “Keep the family in their thoughts and prayers. We can only be as strong as the community allows us to be. If they know or see of any illegal activity, please report it.”

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