Bronx Overdose Crisis Claims Another Life; Two Men Charged With Dumping Victim’s Body

By Kevin Deutsch
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The body of a 54-year-old woman found dumped in the Bronx last week died of an apparent drug overdose, authorities said.

A bystander found Judy Guzman, 54, wrapped in a blanket with duct on West 183rd Street near Sedgwick Avenue in University Heights shortly before 11:30 p.m. Friday, the authorities said.

Joseph Howe, 50, and Jorge Torres, 53, pushed her body to the wooded area in a grocery cart after her overdose, the authorities said. They were charged Sunday with tampering with evidence and concealing a body, the authorities said.

The group appeared to have been using various drugs, including Xanax and heroin, before Guzman’s death, authorities said.

Neither the men nor their attorneys could immediately be reached for comment Monday.

The Bronx is in the midst of a drug overdose crisis; The borough led New York City in overdose deaths last year, with 391 people succumbing in the borough after using narcotics, records show.

In 2018, Bronx residents also had the highest rate of overdose death compared with all other boroughs. The rate increased by 9 percent from 31.4 per 100,000 residents in 2017 to 34.1 per 100,000 residents in 2018, according to the data compiled by New York City’s Department of Health.

Three Bronx areas were among those with the highest recorded rates of fatal drug overdose: Crotona-Tremont, Hunts Point-Mott Haven, and Fordham-Bronx Park.

Only East Harlem saw a higher death rate citywide, the data shows.

Overall, the city recorded 38 fewer deadly drug overdoses in 2018 than it did in 2017, with the fatality total falling from 1,482 to 1,444. The decrease followed seven straight years of increases, records show.

About Kevin Deutsch 265 Articles
Kevin Deutsch is a Staff Writer for Bronx Justice News covering the criminal justice system, drugs, and DNA use by law enforcement. An award-winning journalist, Deutsch is the author of the true crime books "Pill City" and "The Triangle." He has worked on staff at the Daily News, Miami Herald, Newsday, The Palm Beach Post, and The Riverdale Press. His work has also appeared in Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Forward, The Independent, Huffington Post, Orlando Sentinel, and the New York Post, among other publications. His numerous television appearances include spots on CNN, MSNBC, and C-SPAN's BookTV. He has also been featured in The New Yorker. A Bronx resident, Deutsch hosts the true crime podcast "A Dark Turn" on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network.