Questionable death probed

Five search warrants were executed Thursday as law enforcement officers investigated the death of a Tiffin man.

Detective Chuck Boyer, Seneca County Drug Task Force - METRICH Enforcement Unit coordinator, said officers were looking for residents and any evidence related to the investigation into the death of Nathan Hunker, 32.

Randall S. Mentzer, 30, had called 911 Sunday and reported Hunker, his friend, had stopped over the night before, and they were drinking. He reported they both went to bed around 4 a.m., and when he woke up, he found his friend in the same position as when he went to bed, Seneca County Clerk of Courts records state.

Carla S. Hites, 22, who also had been drinking, was gone when Mentzer awoke, records state.

Officers and medical personnel responded and found Hunker dead, they state.

Boyer called it a "questionable death" and said an autopsy on Hunker's body had not been performed as of Thursday evening. There was nothing in the house that would have indicated a cause of death when Hunker was found, he said.

Search warrants first were executed at 4325 N. CR 31, Hites' residence, and 29 Clinton Ave., Apt. 6, Mentzer's residence, Thursday morning. They yielded evidence of drug abuse, Boyer said.

Boyer said officers were looking for Hites and Mentzer to execute search warrants on their bodies. They didn't find them at the residences, so they went to 292 Noble St., where Hunker died.

"We knocked, and we knocked, and we knocked, and nobody came to the door. We had information that led us to believe they were inside," he said.

Boyer said officers got a search warrant to enter the residence. Personnel forced entry in the residence, and two people found hiding in a basement closet were detained, according to a Tiffin Police Department report.

Officers executed search warrants on Hites and Mentzer, obtaining their fingerprints and performing a toxicology test.

It all is to be sent to Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification's laboratory.

Boyer said Hites and Mentzer, who were the last people with Hunker, were released. Other residents of the homes are not involved in the investigation, he said.

The task force executed the search warrants with help from Seneca County Sheriff's Office and Tiffin Police Department.

Originally published in the Advertiser Tribune on August 21, 2015.

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