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Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden believes he knows the cause of death after fentanyl was reportedly discovered in the toxicology report for the three Kansas City Chiefs fans who were found dead in the snow two days after a game day gathering. 

Preliminary toxicology results show David Harrington, Clayton McGeeney and Ricky Johnson had cocaine and fentanyl in their systems, TMX reported, citing sources with direct knowledge of the case.

“We have to wait for the official report to come out, but it appears, at this time, that there was fentanyl and other drugs present. Fentanyl is used by doctors because it’s a powerful painkiller, and one of the side effects is making a person sleepy, and what happened here, I think, could have been that before they used drugs together,” Baden said on “FOX & Friends.” 

“The one fellow who comes in and sleeps on the couch indoors sleeps it off,” Baden added, referring to Jordan Willis, who checked himself into rehab after the men were found dead outside his home. 


“The other three get sleepy and pass out outside, and because of the weather and because of the snow, the body temperature drops very quickly from 98 degrees to 80 degrees, at which point, less than an hour, the heart can’t beat anymore accurately, so they die of a cardiac arrest due to hypothermia,” Baden said. 

“It is very unusual for three people using — or four people — using drugs together to die simultaneously from fentanyl,” Baden continued. “The effects on people, it varies a great deal. So, it’s less likely to be overdoses, more likely to be hypothermia caused by passing out from the fentanyl.”

Willis has said that he slept inside on a sofa for nearly two days, unaware his friends had died outside. Baden explained that it’s not known yet what other drugs were found, but the reported levels of fentanyl were probably not enough to kill them alone despite it likely being the most powerful of the drugs they consumed. 

“It would be extremely unusual for a true overdose to kill them, but they would all get sleepy and if they pass out in the snow, they die. One of the factors is, it’s painless death,” he said. “They don’t have any pain when they pass out, or they don’t have any pain from the cold.”


Jordan Willis

“FOX & Friends” co-host Lawrence Jones noted the fentanyl crisis plaguing America, which he said has people “dropping like flies” in some areas where it’s used to substitute for heroin or mixed with cocaine. 

“Most fentanyl deaths combined other drugs,” Baden said before co-host Brian Kilmeade asked if people can unknowingly consume fentanyl.

“That’s part of the problem. Fentanyl is very cheap. It’s very cheap for the drug lords… they can mix fentanyl with marijuana. They mix fentanyl with cocaine, and that’s why it’s much more powerful than the other drugs,” Baden said.  “So, the four of them may have not even known what they were getting. They might have thought they were getting cocaine, instead it’s fentanyl, and that’s why, as Lawrence said, we have to wait for the official toxicology report.” 

An exterior view of the backyard and porch of Jordan Willis’s home in Kansas City, Missouri

Ainsley Earhardt noted that since police have said the deaths are not being treated like a homicide, perhaps Willis admitted that drugs were involved. 

“The police come there, and they got things from the scene. So, they may have the package or whatever the drugs were contained in, and they would have known, and that’s why they said right away that it’s not a murder. They right away said, gave the impression it was a drug overdose, and the amount of the drug are going to be very important into being so certain about how the effects were. The initial report says trace of cocaine and fentanyl. Fentanyl is much more likely to cause death than cocaine,” Baden said. 


Sarah Rumpf-Whitten and Christina Coulter contributed to this report. 

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