After man’s death, friend pleads for end to ‘meth madness’

COMSTOCK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Kalamazoo County deputies have not released an exact cause of death for Lyle Hess, but one of Hess’s friends is certain methamphetamine played a role.

“Please listen everybody. We are losing family and friends to drugs and violence,” Danny Campbell wrote in a plea on his Facebook page.

“Let’s make a joint effort. This meth madness must stop. … So heartbroken,” wrote Campbell, who described Hess as his best friend.

Shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday, deputies were called to a home in the 5500 block of Electra Street in Comstock Township, east of Kalamazoo, on a report of an unresponsive man. When they arrived, Hess was dead.

Deputies have been called to the same home several times in the last year: once for a stabbing, several times for assault calls and once for the recovery of a stolen vehicle.

“Lyle Hess’s mom just wanted him home to stop using and to get away from the folks who were still using,” wrote Campbell on Facebook.

According to other friends, Hess and his girlfriend were arguing before his death.

Within four hours of Hess’s death, deputies had booked the girlfriend into the Kalamazoo County Jail. The online inmate database showed the arrest was for premeditated murder. But prosecutors never officially charged the woman and she was released from jail Monday.

“The incident remains under investigation and is pending reports and toxicology results from the Kalamazoo County Medical Examiner’s Office,” Undersheriff James VanDyken wrote in a news release Monday. “The case will be submitted to the Kalamazoo County Prosecutor’s Office when final reports from the Medical Examiner’s office are available.”

The girlfriend’s sister, Cheyenne Contreras, told News 8 that if her sister killed Hess, she did not do it intentionally.

“Definitely accidental because she wouldn’t kill anybody,” Contreras said from the porch of her home in Parchment.

“She can’t handle the drugs,” she continued of her sister’s meth use.

Contreras said the drug exacerbates the mental health issues with which her sister already struggles. She said the couple both struggled with meth addiction.

“Lyle was a really good guy,” Contreras said. “He found the humor in everything. He always tried to help people.”

Hess’s friend, Danny Campbell, said the 38-year-old was always in a good mood.

“He’s got a good heart,” he said.

But Campbell said Hess, who did several prison stints because over meth-related convictions, just couldn’t kick it.

“He gets out of prison. He’s doing good. His mom buys him a truck, wants him to do good. Just stay home… He just couldn’t do it. He couldn’t stay away. (Meth is) a terrible, terrible thing,” Campbell said during a phone call with News 8. “I want people to wake up. This is a big awakening for everybody. (Meth) is tearing families apart. It’s causing violence. It’s causing chaos. People are delusional. People are lashing out on those delusions they’re having.”

Campbell said he also wants people to know they can beat meth addiction. He knows from personal experience.

“I beat my addiction. A lot of other people beat their addiction. You just have to have the want, and I hope people can see that his is not a life they’re going to want anymore. Sadly, it cost Lyle his life. I hope people can learn from this and try to get back to normal.”

Campbell said he overcame his addiction after discovering that he had a life-threatening illness. He’s determined to be around as long as possible for his family.

If you need help, you can call the National Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline at 1.800.662.HELP (4357)