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Autopsy results released in murder of Salisbury dentist

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
A medical examiner has determined that a Salisbury dentist murdered earlier this year had no drugs or alcohol in his body.
Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner Dr. Deborah Radisch said in her June report, which was mailed to the Post in late September, that Dr. James David Boyd died of ligature strangulation and asphyxia, which is a lack of oxygen.
Radisch wrote that tests showed no evidence of cocaine, ethanol, opiates or oxymorphone in Boyd’s blood.
Oxymorphone is a narcotic painkiller; opiates are similar to codeine and morphine, which are also pain relievers; and ethanol is a form of alcohol.
Relatives of one of the suspects charged in the Boyd murder said she was going to the dentist for drugs and that she was addicted to hydrocodone.
An employee of the 47-year-old dentist found Boyd’s body June 26 at his home at 9 Pine Tree Road near the Country Club of Salisbury.
Candice Jo Drye, 23, of Mocksville, was charged later the same day the dentist’s body was found.
A second suspect, Jonathan Alexander Barnett, 18, of Salisbury, was brought into the magistrate’s office by his mother the day after Boyd’s death.
And on June 28, the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team took Christopher Allen Boyd, 21, of Kannapolis, into custody at a Concord mobile home.
Authorities said the three went to the Boyd home for money. Some electronics and other items were stolen and later recovered.
Barnett and Christopher Boyd are cousins.
Christopher Boyd is not related to the dentist. He is the brother of Drye’s boyfriend, Stephen Boyd.
After Dr. Boyd’s death, the State Bureau of Investigation said the dentist had been under investigation for illegally distributing and exchanging drugs for sexual favors, according to one affidavit.
Candice Drye’s boyfriend, Stephen, said his mother, Opal Boyd, dropped the young woman off at the dentist’s Statesville Boulevard office earlier in the afternoon of June 26. When Opal Boyd returned to pick Drye up, she was gone.
Drye’s stepfather, Jerry Cruse, has said the dentist called him later that night and asked Cruse to pick up his drunken stepdaughter. The doctor’s wife, Kathy, and three children were at the beach at the time.
Cruse called the family of Drye’s boyfriend, Stephen Boyd, and Stephen’s mother has said she found Drye walking down the road about a half-mile from Dr. Boyd’s home.
In the autopsy report, the medical examiner said Boyd was clothed in his underwear when his body was found.
He was bound with an electrical cord. His wrists and his feet had impressions indicating they’d been tied. Specifically, the impressions on his ankle were consistent with the legs bound while crossed, the report said.
It is unclear if his hands and feet were linked together.
“The hands and the feet were additionally tied to the bed,” the report said.
A report summary shows Boyd’s body was found lying face down over the edge of the bed.
Salisbury Police Chief Mark Wilhelm would only confirm that Boyd was bound.
“Present around the neck is an abrasion consistent with a ligature strangulation,” the autopsy report says.
The dentist had bruises on his neck and under his ear as well as on his chest and arms.
When the employee found Boyd, she told a 911 dispatcher the doctor had a cord around his neck and he was blue.
In August, Rowan District Attorney Bill Kenerly said he will seek the death penalty for Christopher Boyd but not for Barnett or Drye.
All three remain in jail without bond.

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