Weatherford Democrat

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February 3, 2013

DEADLY DOPE: Heroin deaths hit Weatherford hard

A story of three local men whose addictions cost them their lives


Mechanically minded, he had recently started a job learning the HVAC business and picked it up quickly, according to James Reeves, Senior Pastor of Celebration Fellowship in Fort Worth.

Within a matter of weeks at his new job, he was coming back to the church and working on their units, Reeves said.

“You probably would meet Jay in a normal situation and would never dream he had such a long history of dealing with drugs,” Reeves said, describing him as a good-looking young man they had come to love during his time at the church.

Menefee told her that he first started using drugs during high school while living with a family member who had a drug addiction, said Karen Byrum, who views Menefee as her adopted son.

Byrum’s son and Menefee were good friends in junior high school but drifted apart in high school as their lives took different directions. They grew closer again when Menefee reached out to the family after spending time in jail and converting, according to Byrum.

She and her husband put Menefee in touch with a program being run at the time by Celebration Fellowship.

There, Menefee significantly turned his life around.

“I really believe Jay wanted it because he worked it hard,” Reeves said of Menefee’s months of sobriety at Refuge House.

He not only completed the program but was doing so well, Knight said he allowed Menefee to live with him in his home before Menefee moved into his own apartment shortly before his death.

Though Menefee had been going through a rough patch at the time, those close to him were shocked when Menefee was found dead at his Fort Worth residence on Sept. 21. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner ruled his death an accident as a result of heroin intoxication due to incautious consumption.

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