According to officials, pathologist Dr. Roland Kohr performed an autopsy on Haley Bryan at Terre Haute Regional Hospital Monday. Results of the toxicology reports could take several weeks to be completed.
On Friday, Bryan was pronounced dead shortly after being taken to St. Vincent Clay Hospital by friends, including two 17-year-old juveniles (one male and one female) and Jessie A. Sowers, 18, Bowling Green. Because juvenile court records are sealed, the names of the juvenile suspects are not being released.
Since Bryan died from an alleged drug overdose, hospital officials contacted the Clay County Sheriff's Department to investigate the matter.
During the initial investigation, officials learned the two males allegedly stole a Fentanyl Transdermal pain patch from an undisclosed individual, who is prescribed the medication for pain management. One of the males then apparently removed the Fentanyl from the patch so the four youths could allegedly smoke it.
Within a few minutes of ingestion, Bryan apparently showed symptoms of an overdose and lost consciousness.
During questioning, investigators were told the remaining three individuals drove around county roads in the Clay City and Bowling Green area for almost an hour before deciding to take Bryan to the hospital at 7:30 p.m.
With no evidence of an attempt to report the incident to the Clay County 911 Dispatch Center, officials confirmed the three suspects' phone records would be reviewed during the ongoing investigation.
Initially charged with felony possession of a controlled substance and theft, the three suspects were taken into custody for their alleged involvement in taking and illegally using the Fentanyl. Facing a $25,000 cash bond (with no 10 percent allowed), Sowers was incarcerated at the Clay County Justice Center and the two juveniles were detained at a juvenile detention center until court proceedings could be scheduled.
On Sunday, Clay Circuit Court Judge Joseph Trout was presented a 17-page probable cause affidavit by the Clay County Prosecutor's Office to determine whether Sowers should remain incarcerated longer than 48 hours. In the affidavit, officials provided case information/evidence about potential felony charges to be filed in the matter.
If the document had not been presented to and signed by a judge, Sowers would have been released on his own recognizance per legal protocols early Monday morning.
Late Tuesday afternoon, the Prosecutor's Office filed formal charges against Sowers in Clay Circuit Court, including class B felony dealing or delivering a controlled substance, class D felony possession of a controlled substance, class D felony conspiracy to commit theft, two class A misdemeanor charges of false informing and interference with the reporting of a crime and a class B misdemeanor visiting a common nuisance.
Sowers is expected to appear for an initial hearing and further court proceedings today.
Meanwhile, the two juvenile suspects -- who are waiting to be formally charged in the matter -- also appeared in Clay Circuit Court for a detention hearing Tuesday.
Officials confirmed the female suspect was placed on electronic home detention, while the male suspect was returned to Muncie Reception and Diagnostic Center to await further juvenile court proceedings.
According to Prosecutor Lee Reberger, the court gave the state 72 hours to file petitions alleging juvenile delinquency by the youths in each of pending matters.
Although unable to comment further on the pending legal cases, Reberger confirmed the matter remains under investigation and additional charges could be filed if warranted.
Law enforcement officials are very concerned about drug cases involving young people experimenting with prescription drugs.
"We're seeing a drastic increase in the numbers of young people experimenting with substances that are not normally abused," Reberger said. "When we see these substances being used in a way not prescribed by physicians, the results can be serious even deadly. We're hoping the community will become aware that this is happening and will become more comfortable in reporting incidents with law enforcement and seek medical care if a friend or loved one should become ill from (improper) use of these substances."
Information about Fentanyl
Fentanyl is a potent synthetic narcotic pain medicine (which comes in powder or gel forms) used for treating persistent moderate to severe pain in opioid-tolerant patients who need to be on pain medication around-the-clock for more than just a few days.
This is extremely important because patients who are opioid-tolerant are more resistant to the dangerous side effects of narcotic pain medicines than patients who only occasionally take these medicines. If someone who is not opioid-tolerant uses the drug, the amount of Fentanyl in one patch of the lowest strength is enough to cause dangerous side effects, such as respiratory depression (severe trouble breathing or very slow or shallow breathing) and death.
Approximately 100 times more potent than morphine, Fentanyl is listed as a controlled substance and is considered illegal if possessed by someone without a valid doctor's prescription.
A Fentanyl Transdermal System patch contains the drug in a very strong gel form that is placed directly on the skin of the patient. However, the gel should not be touched by anyone else.
Side effects that can occur with the use of Fentanyl include:
* allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips or tongue,
* breathing problems,
* changes in vision,
* feeling faint, lightheaded,
* fever, flu-like symptoms,
* high or low blood pressure,
* irregular heartbeat,
* problems with balance, talking, walking,
* trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine,
* unusual bleeding or bruising and
* unusually weak or tired.
According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, despite issuing a health advisory emphasizing the safe use of Fentanyl patches in July 2005, reports of overdose, death and life-threatening side effects from misuse of the patches have continued.
Signs of Fentanyl overdose including trouble breathing or slow/shallow breathing, slow heartbeat, severe sleepiness, cold, clammy skin, trouble walking or talking, or feeling faint, dizzy, or confused.
If these signs occur, medical attention should be sought right away.