DRUG DELIVERY RESULTING IN DEATH
- Drug Delivery Resulting in Death
- Criminal Use of a Communications Facility
- Delivery of a Controlled Substance
- Possession with Intent to Deliver a Controlled Substance
- Possession of a Controlled Substance
DETAILS OF INCIDENT:
On Wednesday, February 4, 2020, Berks County Drug Taskforce Detectives assisted officers from the Robeson Township Police Department relative to a drug overdose in the 200 block of Furnace Road, Birdsboro, Pennsylvania.
During the course of the investigation, the detectives learned that the victim had a history of drug use and purchased heroin the night before from an unknown individual. Found near the victim’s body were several packets of suspected heroin/fentanyl.
On Friday, February 7, 2020, an autopsy of the victim was performed by Forensic Pathologist Supriya Kuruvilla at the Reading Hospital and Medical Center. The cause of death would not be determined until the receipt of toxicology reports. It is to be noted that a preliminary test of the victim’s blood had yielded a positive result for the presence of opiates.
As the investigation continued it was determined the victim had purchased heroin/fentanyl from the suspect, Sarah Ellen Hess on two occasions. One of the purchases being on Tuesday, February 3, 2020 the night before the overdose.
On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, and undercover buy of narcotics was arranged and conducted with Sarah Hess for purpose of delivering an amount of heroin/fentanyl. She was subsequently taken into custody. She was later committed to Berks County Jail.
On Monday, March 9, 2020, the Berks County Coroner’s office generated a final report relative to the death of the victim. The report indicated that toxicology results from the blood drawn from the body of the victim revealed the presence of fentanyl. The reported indicated that the cause of death was a result of acute fentanyl/heroin toxicity.
On March 24th, 2020, a forensic scientist from the Pennsylvania State Police Lab issued a report of his findings relative to the analysis items seized near the victim. The report revealed the presence of heroin and fentanyl in the items submitted for analysis.
As a result of the aforementioned information, Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Hess. The warrant was issued by Magisterial District Justice Tonya Butler. Hess is presently incarcerated at the Berks County Jail and a preliminary arraignment will take place at a later date.
As in every criminal case, the fact that an arrest occurred or a complaint has been filed is merely an accusation, a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.