David Howell Reported Dead in Beverly Hills

by Gwen Moritz  on Friday, Oct. 25, 2002 11:26 am  

M. David Howell of Little Rock, the former banker and investor who is the subject of an investigation by the Arkansas Securities Department, died Wednesday in a Beverly Hills hotel, the Los Angeles County Coroner's office confirmed.

Howell, 54, was pronounced dead at 9:17 p.m. CDT on Wednesday by paramedics who responded to an emergency call from hotel staff members, the coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey said. There was no obvious sign of foul play, but an autopsy had not been performed by shortly before noon on Thursday.

The coroner's report said Howell had a history of alcohol, cocaine and prescription drug abuse and that he had been released from the Betty Ford Center, a substance abuse rehabilitation center at Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Oct. 14.

He checked into the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills on Monday, according to the coroner's information. Unidentified "family members" spoke to Howell by phone about 5:40 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, Harvey said, and when they were unable to reach him several hours later, they asked hotel staff to make a "welfare check" on his room. Hotel staff found Howell unresponsive and called for paramedics, who pronounced him dead and attempted no medical intervention.

He was identified by his Arkansas driver's license.

Howell's body was being held at the coroner's office pending an autopsy, Harvey said.

A week ago, the Arkansas Securities Department issued a cease-and-desist order against Howell, whom the department accused of selling at least $15 million in unregistered promissory notes to at least 16 different investors. His whereabouts had been unknown.



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