Life and Death on Santron Avenue

Santron Avenue is a 600-foot ribbon of cracked gray asphalt that follows a bowl-shaped landscape in working-class Carrick, the Pittsburgh neighborhood most ravaged by drugs. In 2017, the potent mix of heroin and fentanyl — called “dope” by those caught in its orbit — exerted a powerful and destructive pull on this street. The Post-Gazette multimedia presentation “Life and Death on Santron Avenue” tracks the events that ended tragically for one family and gave another family a small ray of hope.

Carrick High School rises above Santron Avenue, a street haunted by opiates in 2017. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Glenn Jeffries and Autumn Rudolph live in a house at Santron Avenue’s lowest point. By the summer of 2017, the couple had been addicted to opiates for about three years. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Glenn displays the dope he purchased moments earlier. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
In his kitchen, Glenn checks small packets of dope, which he believes is a mix of heroin and fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiate. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
This day’s drug is labeled “Wildcat.” Glenn carefully dumped the powder into a spoon, then added a small amount of water to dissolve the drug. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Using a bent needle, Glenn shoots up. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
On the afternoon of August 17, Jenn Dolton’s body is removed from behind a vacant house two doors down from Glenn and Autumn’s home. Jenn died of overdose. She was 35. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Terry Fisher, neighbor to Glenn and Autumn, identifies Jenn’s body after looking at a picture taken by a Pittsburgh Police detective. Terry lives next door to the vacant house where Jenn’s body was discovered. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Jenn, at approximately age four, sleeps in the arms of her father John Sefchick in this undated family photograph. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
John says a final goodbye to his daughter. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
When he was 18, Chris Traud met Jenn Dolton at a Pittsburgh shopping mall. The couple’s relationship spanned 18 years. This family photograph was made shortly after the couple met.
At left is Chris in 2017. At right is Jenn in a 2016 Allegheny County Jail booking photograph. Years of addiction marred the couple’s relationship. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette and Allegheny County Jail)
Family photograph showing Diane Dalton holding newborn daughter Jenn.
Several weeks after Jenn’s death, Diane sits in the bedroom of her apartment and sorts through photographs of her daughter. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
Chris and Jenn’s house on West Woodford Avenue, a few blocks from Santron Avenue, became an uninhabitable hulk, with no heat, no electricity and no water. Every room had been trashed. In their final years together, Chris and Jenn neglected all aspects of life except addiction. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
Spoons and other debris littering Chris and Jenn’s house. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
Diane joins about 75 others gathered in the small town of Glassport, Pa., for a candlelight vigil to remember those who’ve died of drug overdose. Diane raised Jenn in an apartment above a bar in downtown Glassport. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
By mid-November, Glenn and Autumn had decided to stop using opiates. The couple hoped to eventually regain custody of their two young daughters. On Thursday morning, Nov. 16, an anxious Glenn waits for his ride to a rehab facility. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Glenn uses plastic garbage bags as luggage. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Before departing, Glenn gives Autumn a kiss. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Glenn carries his bags to the van that will take him to a drug rehab facility. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Months after Jenn’s death, Jenn’s family remains haunted by unanswered questions. How did Jenn up on the back porch of a vacant home? How did she spend her final days, her final moments? (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
On sleepless nights, John drives the streets of Carrick, looking for answers. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)
After returning from a drug rehab facility, Glenn Jeffries reads a notice to appear in family court while daughter Cathy climbs on his back. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Autumn and Glenn, now saying they were clean of drugs, join daughters Carly and Cathy in the family’s living room. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Three months after her daughter’s death, Diane visits the house Jenn once called home. A swimming pool, long removed, had once been a place where Jenn’s family gathered to play and have fun. Diane believed she’d never have answers to her many questions about Jenn’s death. (Stephanie Strasburg/Post-Gazette)

Be sure to read the full story and view accompanying videos on the Post-Gazette’s multimedia presentation of “Life and Death on Santron Avenue.”