- Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2016

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Authorities are trying to determine if a lethal batch of illegal drugs is responsible for the apparent overdose deaths of three people whose bodies were found at three different locations in the Spokane area.

The Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office is awaiting toxicology test results to determine the cause of all three deaths. The bodies were all discovered within three hours on Wednesday morning, two in Spokane and one in Spokane Valley.

Evidence has been sent to the Washington State Toxicology Lab in Seattle for analysis, the medical examiner’s office said. It can take two to 10 weeks to get results, the medical examiner said.

However, officials said the deaths appear to be consistent with heroin and opiate use.

Spokane City Councilman Mike Fagan said this week that he received a briefing from police indicating the deaths were linked to heroin.

Brian Schaeffer, assistant chief of the Spokane Fire Department, told The Spokesman-Review he saw drug paraphernalia at the scene of one of the deaths that was consistent with heroin and opiate use. Firefighters at the other two scenes said the same thing, Schaeffer told the newspaper.

The dead were identified Thursday as William L. Hubbard, 21, and Yana Olar, 25, whose bodies were found at different locations in Spokane. Jessica M. Peterson, 29, was found dead in Spokane Valley. The deaths occurred less than three hours apart, police said. It was not clear if the three people knew each other, police have said.

Police said they issued a stateemtn Wednesday morning about the apparent overdose deaths as a warning to the community about a possible bad batch of illegal drugs.

The Spokane County Health District released a statement Thursday urging drug users to know overdose signs and to seek medical help.

In 2014, there were nine opiate-related deaths in Spokane County.

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