When Gregory Demage put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger on Feb. 24 - police, spectators and media watching his vehicle while it sat in the opposite direction of southbound Route 61 - he had cocaine in his system.

That new revelation puts a cap on a bizarre and tragic story that started inside a home in the Poconos and ended very publicly in Coal Township.

Northumberland County Coroner James Kelley confirmed last week the presence of cocaine, which was revealed through a toxicology test conducted on Demage's body at Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown.

Couple killed

Demage, 30, of Jim Thorpe, was sought in connection with the violent death of his grandmother Mildred Carnochan, 75, and her husband, John Carnochan, 77, at their Split Rock Resort home near Lake Harmony in Kidder Township, Carbon County. Police had found the bodies that same Saturday morning, and believed the killings had taken place 24 to 36 hours earlier.

Mildred Carnochan was killed by blunt and sharp force trauma to the head and chest, while John Carnochan was killed by multiple blunt force trauma and stab wounds, state police at Fern Ridge said. Police said the victims were struck with a blunt object, possibly a hammer.

Local connection

State police at Fern Ridge, believing Demage had stolen the couple's silver 2006 Cadillac DTS sedan, asked their brethren from the Stonington barracks to check a residence in Snydertown where a former girlfriend of Demage was believed to be living.

Demage was spotted in the area, but evaded police. Ralpho Township Patrolman Christopher Grow later noticed the suspect's vehicle at the intersection of Routes 54 and 487, and he attempted to have Demage pull over.

Instead, the suspect took off. His vehicle reached 120 mph while Demage raced east on Route 487 and then south on Route 61.

Shamokin Patrolman Raymond J. Siko II positioned himself on Route 61 near the Jack Williams Tire and Auto Center just off the Cameron Bridge, where he placed a spike strip. Demage drove into the opposite lane to avoid it, but the right side tires hit the strip.

With sparks flying, Demage continued to speed through a congested section of highway in Shamokin - where the speed limit is 25 mph - with at least six police cars in pursuit.

About one mile east of Shamokin in Coal Township, where Route 61's four lanes are split by concrete dividers, Demage pulled into Miller's Gas Station. He then exited the parking lot and went north in the southbound lanes. A few hundred yards later, the Cadillac, apparently disabled, stopped near the intersection with Feeney Street, McDonald's on one side of the road, a Pizza Hut on the other and at least a dozen bystanders watching police train their guns on the car.

State police troopers and officers from local municipal forces, as well as the Northumberland County Sheriff's Department, positioned themselves in the southbound and northbound lanes behind their vehicles and open cruiser doors. Mount Carmel Sgt. Todd Owens commanded Demage on a loud speaker to throw his keys out the window and surrender.

After several minutes of commands, a single muffled gunshot was heard from inside the vehicle at approximately 8:30 p.m. It was less than 25 minutes after the chase had begun. Soon after, officers approached the vehicle with guns drawn and smashed the driver's window, finding Demage deceased.

State police at Fern Ridge said Demage was the only suspect in the deaths of the Carnochans. No motive for the killings was ever revealed.