Investigators have begun to release information regarding the events surrounding the Dec. 15 death of 17-year-old Dietrich Jackson.
Putnam County Coroner Thomas Miller told the BannerGraphic that though his investigation is ongoing, his office could confirm that Jackson died from pharmacological intoxication and a toxicology report indicated that Jackson had THC, Xanax, alcohol and Oxymorphone in his system when he died. Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug, does have some therapeutic levels. However, the drug Oxymorphone is six to eight times more powerful than morphine, is likely the cause of Jackson's death, according to Miller
After making three arrests Wednesday, the Putnam County Prosecutor's Office released a probable cause affidavit containing the statements of several juveniles and adults who had contact with the Greencastle High School senior on the night he died. Names of the teenagers were removed from the document to protect their identities, but accounts of events vary dramatically.
It has been previously reported that Jackson was found dead the morning after attending a party, but until now, little has been officially released about where he went, who he was with and what happened in the hours leading up to the teenagers death.
Though individuals initially reported that Jackson had consumed some alcohol at a party thrown by 50-year-old Eric Mahrenholz, who has been charged in connection with the case, others have also reported that Jackson was transported to the home of 23-year-old Scottie Hoover, where he acquired several prescription drugs including Oxymorphone and Xanax. As interviews progressed, one individual described Hoover removing a time released-coating from one of the pills and crushing it with a spoon in order for Jackson to snort it.
Hoover has been charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor causing death, a class C felony, dealing in a controlled substance to a child, a class A felony, and a class B felony of dealing in a controlled substance to a child.
The juveniles' reports of what happened after Jackson consumed the pills also vary and contradict statements made to state police detectives early in their investigation. At least one juvenile admitted to lying to investigators to avoid self-incrimination.
One juvenile, who told police he transported Jackson to Hoover's home at approximately 11 p.m., stated that Jackson lost consciousness within five to 10 minutes after snorting the pill at Hoover's, and was in and out of consciousness over the next couple of hours.
Another juvenile told investigators that he only became involved when he was called to help carry Jackson into his grandmother's house at approximately 1:30 a.m., where the teen was found dead late the next morning.
According to the affidavit, that same individual reported that Jackson was asleep and snoring in the back seat of a car and someone told him that Jackson had passed out after taking some pills. After carrying Jackson into the house and placing him on a couch, the juvenile told investigators that Jackson sounded as if he was going to "swallow his tongue," so he placed Jackson on his side and he began breathing normally again.
Another juvenile told investigators that someone at the scene actually opened Jackson's mouth and pulled his tongue from the back of his throat so he could breathe.
Nowhere in the affidavit did anyone report seeking medical attention or calling 911.
Ryan Romandine, an adult interviewed by investigators and named in the report, painted different picture of Jackson's condition that night. He told investigators that he was at Hoover's home and consumed several pills and smoked marijuana. After passing out for several hours, he awoke at 1 a.m. and Jackson was also there.
According to Romandine, he caught a ride with a juvenile who was preparing to transport Jackson home. When the two attempted to leave Hoover's house, they were unable to wake Jackson.
At that point in the evening, Romandine told investigators, he took the time to confirm that Jackson was breathing and had a pulse before carrying him outside and placing him in the back seat of the juvenile's car.
The three then drove into Greencastle, and instead of taking Jackson home or to seek medical attention, Romandine stopped at a gas station to buy cigarettes. During that stop, Romandine reported that Jackson vomited in the car. The group left the gas station, and according to Romandine, the driver delivered the cigarettes to another location before dropping Romandine off at his girlfriend's home.
According to all of the juvenile's statements, Jackson's death was discovered the next morning at around 9 a.m. At least one statement suggests that several phone calls were made to other Greencastle High School students who met in the school's parking lot to discuss the situation before returning to Jackson's home to further investigate his condition.
At approximately 10 a.m., Jackson's grandmother, Charity Pankratz, entered the room, where she told investigators, she found four of five teenage boys standing around Jackson. She dialed 911.
At least one juvenile has since admitted to police that he attempted to conceal evidence of Jackson's drug use by taking several pills from Jackson's pocket before police arrived. He told investigators that he held onto the pills until being taken to the Putnam County Sheriff's Department for questioning later that morning. He admitted to excusing himself to use the restroom where he flushed the pills down the toilet.
Three arrests were made Wednesday in connection with the death of 17-year-old Dietrich Jackson.
According to a statement released by Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter, his office anticipates that charges will be filed against juveniles involved in Jackson's death.