New arrests connected to death of local teen
The Putnam County Prosecutor's Office filed charges against a fourth adult Friday in connection to the December death of 17-year-old Dietrich Jackson.
Law enforcement officials say that more arrests are likely.
Jessica Phares, 24, Greencastle, was booked into the Putnam County Jail at 4:30 p.m., Friday, and charged with possession of a controlled substance (Oxymorphone), a class D felony, and possession of a controlled substance (Xanax), also a class D felony.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed by the prosecutor's office, Phares acknowledged being at the home of her boyfriend Scott Hoover on the evening of Dec. 14, when Jackson ingested the prescription drugs that lead to his death early the following morning.
The affidavit further states other individuals have testified in court that Phares was seen ingesting both Oxymorphone and Xanax that night.
At least two more juveniles were questioned during intake proceedings with the Putnam County Juvenile Probation Office this week, also in connection with Jackson's death. Putnam County Prosecutor Tim Bookwalter says he anticipates filing charges against the two juveniles early next week.
Three adults and one juvenile have already been arrested. Scott Hoover, 23, Greencastle is charged with a class A felony, dealing in a controlled substance (Oxymorphone) to a child under the age of 18; a class B felony of dealing in a controlled substance (Xanax) to a child under the age of 18; and a class C felony, contributing to the delinquency of a minor causing the death of Dietrich Jackson.
Steve M. Smith, 43, Greencastle, is charged with a class B felony, dealing in a controlled substance (Oxymorphone).
Eric Mahrenholtz, 50, Greencastle, is charged with contributing to the delinquency of minors by providing alcohol, a class A misdemeanor, and maintaining a common nuisance, a class C misdemeanor.
Though five arrests have been made, and two more are pending, Bookwalter said he does not consider the investigation into the death of Greencastle High School senior closed.
"We are still interviewing people to find where it leads," Bookwalter explained. "We want to stop the distribution of prescription drugs."
Indiana State Police Detective Jim Dungan, the lead investigator on the case, says that he also considers the case open.
"In my eyes the investigation is open until they are acquitted or found guilty," Dungan said.
Dungan acknowledged that the investigation into Jackson's death has met with an unusually high level of community cooperation that in turn led to an unusually high number of charges being filed.
"I think that people know that there is an RX drug problem in the community and there has been a lot of outcry and a lot of concern," the detective said.
Dungan says that local law enforcement, school officials, the prosecutor and the entire community have learned a harsh lesson about the levels of prescription drug trafficking in the community, and Dungan says he is glad to see people banding together to start finding solutions.
"I want to put a stop to this," said Dungan, pledging not to let the issue die. "I don't want to clean up another dead teenager."