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Shelocta man faces charges in heroin-related overdose death

by on July 09, 2014 10:59 AM

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for a 25-year-old man accused of providing the heroin that killed a friend last fall.

Ryan J. Gould, of Shelocta, is to appear before District Judge Jennifer Rega on charges of drug delivery resulting in death, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, recklessly endangering another person and making unsworn falsification to authorities.

According to state police in Indiana, Gould acquired the heroin that led to the death of Stephanie I. Elliott, of Blacklick Township. Elliott, 23, was Indiana Area High School graduate and was attending Penn State’s Erie campus, where she was pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.

Police said Gould bought four stamp bags of heroin and shared them with Elliott in her apartment on Oct. 18 or 19. At some point, Elliott used the heroin and overdosed.

She was taken to Indiana Regional Medical Center and later transferred to UPMC Presbyterian, where she died on Oct. 20. The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office listed the cause of death as aspiration pneumonia due to opiate intoxication.

Gould told police he arrived at his apartment early on the morning of Oct. 19 and found her lying on her side, her lips blue. He tried performing CPR, he said, but she wasn’t responding. So he dragged her outside and flagged down a passing vehicle on Route 286 because he couldn’t lift her into a vehicle by himself.

He said he persuaded the passers-by to help him put her in a vehicle and asked that they call 911 to give the hospital warning that he was on his way.

Police later spoke to the passers-by who told them that they had indeed assisted Gould. But they said he told them not to call for help as he was taking the woman to the hospital on his own.

Police said they also reviewed text messages between Elliott and Gould on the night of the incident. According to police, the text messages show that Gould asked Elliott if she wanted to “get high and chill.” Later, Gould wrote to say that he had acquired four stamp bags.

Police said a search of Elliott’s apartment on the morning of the incident turned up syringes, a spoon, a crack pipe and four stamp bags.

Gould has been free on a $75,000 percentage bond following his arrest in May. His hearing is set for July 16.

Sam Kusic is a staff writer for The Indiana Gazette.
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