‘No foul play’ no longer reassuring

July 10, 2017

Week after week, our Cape Gazette pages have contained obituaries of people who died too suddenly, many far too young.

Recently, among these heartbreaking stories came the death of Rajien Harmon, 22, who died, apparently alone, in a bathroom at a restaurant where she had just finished a long shift. A bright, hardworking, generous spirit, she was well-loved by her family and friends, with nieces and nephews to dote on as she began to plan her future.

Police were called to the scene of her death. They later reported drugs were suspected in Rajien's death. Police also reported no foul play was suspected.

"No foul play" is a phrase police have come to use to mean the person who died did not appear to have been attacked by another person; she did not appear to be a victim of a crime.

It's a phrase that's used to reassure the rest of us, to let us know police do not suspect there's a violent attacker on the loose who could choose us as the next victim.

Yet there is a violent attacker on the loose, an attacker who may have been outside the restaurant, waiting for Rajien to finish her shift. An attacker who may have supplied her with something that she paid for with her life.

It's an attacker who could choose any one of us as the next victim, gaining our confidence, perhaps hanging out, maybe sharing a few pills to get rid of our aches and pains. And then one day, sometimes sooner, sometimes later, we could wake up addicted to a dangerous drug.

To be sure, an investigation into Rajien's death is continuing.

We hope her violent attacker will be identified and that going forward this flood of deadly drugs will be turned back. As Rajien's heartbroken father said: "Anything that happens to somebody else's kid can happen to mine, which it did."



  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Laura Ritter, news editor, and Dennis Forney, publisher, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; Nick Roth, sports editor; and Chris Rausch, associate publisher.