By The Associated Press

GOULD — A Department of Correction official says three inmates have died in less than 24 hours at a prison in southeast Arkansas, possibly from drug use.

Spokesman James DePriest said Monday that both state police and the department are investigating to determine the cause of the deaths at Varner and its supermax unit.

The inmates were identified as 34-year-old Edward Morris, who was pronounced dead in his cell Sunday at 10:35 a.m., 38-year-old Stephen Kantzer who was pronounced dead in his barracks at 1:30 a.m., and 41-year-old Marlon Miles, who was pronounced dead in his cell at the same time.

DePriest says it was “hard to believe” the timing of the deaths was coincidental.

Kantzer was serving a 20-year sentence, while Morris and Miles were serving five years each.