LICKING, Mo. – A second inmate has died at the men’s state prison in Licking in a two-week span and preliminary reports indicate it’s likely another drug overdose.

The South Central Correctional Center says 33-year-old Bronson Vestal died Friday, Aug. 11. Vestal began serving a 5-year sentence for stealing $750 or more in March 2022.

According to the Texas County Coroner Marie Lasater, Vestal’s autopsy will be done on Saturday, Aug. 12. Lasater said the preliminary drug screen was positive for fentanyl, but she’s waiting on the toxicology report to confirm further details.

Vestal’s death comes just two weeks after another young man died under similar circumstances.

On July 29, 24-year-old Ross Logan was pronounced dead at the South Central Correctional Center in Licking. Logan was half way into a 12-year sentence for tampering with motor vehicle and violence to another inmate.

Lasater said Logan preliminary drug screen was also positive for fentanyl, but the toxicology report is still pending. Lab work will assess whether the fentanyl found in Logan and Vestal could be from the same batch.

KOLR 10 Investigates uncovered 12 Licking inmates died in 2022, mostly from drug overdoses.

Vestal’s death marks the seventh for the prison so far in 2023. With the exception of Alan Lancaster who died from overdosing on an animal tranquilizer in January, the coroner reports the other deaths have been from natural causes.

2023 Inmate Deaths

  • Jan. 28: Alan Lancaster | Drug Overdose – Xylazine
  • April 9: Nathan Emery | Natural Causes
  • June 13: Wayne Johnston | Natural Causes
  • June 27: Roderick Stevenson | Natural Causes
  • July 16: Lanny Sunderland | Natural Causes
  • July 29: Logan Ross | Cause of death TBD; Preliminary drug screen positive for fentanyl
  • Aug. 11: Bronson Vestal | Cause of death TBD; Preliminary drug screen positive for fentanyl

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