A 20-year-old man charged with assaulting a 17-year-old boy who he caught allegedly molesting a child in a home has died, according to reports.
Richard Adams was found unresponsive in his bed after his girlfriend noticed he was not breathing, reported WRDW. His cause of death is still under investigation, but early signs point to drug overdose, the news station said, citing police.
The Lake County Coroner’s office also confirmed Adams’ death with FOX 8 but did not provide further details.
Adams was widely praised for stopping the alleged sexual assault on a 5-year-old boy last month.
According to reports, Adams walked into a room in a home and found the teen allegedly molesting the 5-year-old boy. Adams was accused of then attacking the teen.
The 20-year-old posted a video showing the alleged assault, which has been shared several times. In the video, a man could be heard forcing a young man to confess to what he did to the young child, reported Fox 8 in an earlier report.
Adams was charged with felony assault for attacking the teenage boy but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, a misdemeanor assault, on April 10, according to Fox 8. Meanwhile, the 17-year-old, who has not been identified, has been charged with rape. His case is still pending.
https://t.co/QZQBSWLYfh: Richard Adams of Painesville died of a suspected drug overdose less than two weeks after he pleaded guilty to attacking a 17-year-old boy that Adams said was in the act of molesting a 5-year-old boy.
— Danny Eldredge (@danielgeldredge) April 23, 2019
At the time, Eastlake Police posted a brief statement about the incident on their Facebook page, saying, “On March 21, 2019, Eastlake Police responded to the area of E. 363th Street for a report of an assault. Officers arrived and after an investigation arrested Richard Adams, 20, of Painesville. He was charged with Felonious Assault. The victim was 17 years old. As this investigation is ongoing, no further details will be released at this time.”
In an interview with the news station, Adams said at the moment all he wanted to do was help the young boy.
“I kinda blacked out,” Adams told the news station. “I saw a 17-year-old molesting a 5-year-old. I wanted to help the young boy and that was all I was thinking about was getting it stopped.”
After the news became known, many social media users called Adams a hero for stopping the alleged sexual assault.
#BREAKING: Richard Adams, the 20-year-old Painesville man who attacked a teen he walked in on molesting a 5-year-old boy in Eastlake, has died, according to the Lake County Coroner.https://t.co/lwdA2tCmA6
— News 5 Cleveland (@WEWS) April 23, 2019
This guy is a HERO!” one person wrote.
Another person commented, “HE’S A HERO!!!! HOW CAN U ARREST HIM!!!!! SET HIM FREE!!!!”
“Guy should be given a medal by the city,” another person wrote.
Adams’s uncle, Jeff Cooks, also started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the 20-year-old’s legal fees. It raised over $40,000 out of $50,000 but is no longer accepting donations as of April 23.
On the GoFundMe page, people also complimented Adams for his actions. One said, “You saved that little boy and was his angel that day! I commend you for your actions. Praying for you.”
“If it was my son you defended I’d pay all of your legal fees. I hope you get everything you need. You’re a hero in my book!” another wrote. “Never hesitate to defend or turn your back on the defenseless. If there were more people in this world like you, it just might be a little bit safer.”
NTD reporter Tiffany Meier contributed to this report.