Cause of death reported for star football player

POINT PLEASANT — Nearly a year after a former football standout was found dead, his death has officially been ruled as an accidental heroin overdose, according to the West Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Charleston.

The death certificate of Allan O. Wasonga, 21, of Point Pleasant, was filed Monday in the Mason County Clerk’s Office.

The certificate, signed by Dr. Allen R. Mock, the chief medical examiner, says the cause of death was “heroin intoxication.” In the box for “manner of death,” the box for “accident” is checked. The section of the certificate to denote how the injury occurred states, “abused heroin by unknown route of administration.”

In July 2014, Wasonga, who at one time had a bright future in football, was found dead in a Mount Vernon Avenue home. The Point Pleasant Police Department investigated the case and officers arrived at the Mount Vernon Avenue residence to find Wasonga already deceased. Wasonga’s remains were sent to the medical examiner’s office in Charleston soon after. At the time of his death, there had been no confirmation on what caused it. It is not uncommon for these types of autopsy results to take a significant amount of time before being reported and a death certificate filed.

PPPD Chief Joe Veith, who has been investigating the death, said he’d recently received the medical examiner’s report on Wasonga. Veith said numerous interviews were done in the case and it would remain open in the sense that if new information surfaced, it would be investigated.

However, at this point, the case has gone cold. Veith said in cases that are ruled as an accidental overdose, it’s difficult to prove an intentionally sabotaged dose of heroin because there is no “good dose” of heroin and it’s unknown where the heroin came from at this point. For this reason, and the finding by the medical examiner, the case is basically at a standstill unless new information emerges.

A talented running back, Wasonga had previously been a football standout at Point Pleasant High School and later at Parkersburg High School; he graduated from PHS in 2011. He committed to play football at Marshall University.

In his junior year at PHS in 2009, Wasonga finished second in the voting for the Kennedy Award, given to the top high school player in West Virginia. Also in 2009 at PHS, he rushed for 2,300 yards and 28 touchdowns and was named West Virginia’s Gatorade Player of the Year.

In March 2014, prior to his death, Wasonga was arrested by the PPPD following a traffic stop in which he was the driver. At the time, officers reported they found one large bag and one small bag, each containing a substance consistent with heroin, in the vehicle. According to the PPPD, one ounce of heroin was seized with an estimated street value of $4,000, as well as $399 in cash.

The use of heroin continues to grow in the area due to its relatively cheap price compared to prescription pills that have become difficult and more expensive for addicts to acquire.

In the last month, the Mason County Sheriff’s Department has made heroin busts on Lincoln Avenue in Point Pleasant and in Hartford. Two suspects were from Michigan in the Hartford case and an Ohio man is a suspect in the the Lincoln Avenue case.