More details were released Monday morning in the fatal drug overdose death of a St. Hilaire woman.
Michaela Rose Constance Cooper, 20, was found slumped over at her home Thursday night. CPR and two doses of Narcan were administered. None of those efforts were successful, and she was pronounced dead at her home.
A Thief River Falls man who allegedly supplied the drugs was arrested Friday morning in connection with Cooper’s death. James Michael Morin, 23, has been charged with third-degree – sell/give/distribute a Schedules 1 & 2 controlled substance, fourth-degree controlled substance crime and fifth-degree possession of a Schedule 1, 2, 3 or 4 drug. All are felonies. He was expected to appear in court Monday afternoon.
According to the complaint, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to Cooper’s home, 314 Water Ave. N., at about 10:31 p.m. Thursday. The caller reported a possible overdose. A sheriff’s deputy, who happened to be in St. Hilaire at the time, responded to the home. He was directed to a female lying on a bed. Her face was blue. After directing Cooper’s fiancé out of the room, the deputy moved Cooper to the floor and began CPR. A dose of Narcan was administered a short time later. There were no results, and a second dose was administered. It, too, was unsuccessful. Cooper was pronounced dead at 11:08 p.m. Thursday.
Her fiancé allegedly said he had obtained the drugs from Morin, whose home was later searched. Inside Morin’s home and on his person, law enforcement allegedly found 39 pills similar to the fentanyl-laced pills the couple possessed. Morin allegedly admitted meeting the man Thursday afternoon, but he denied selling the pills to him.
Back at the couple’s St. Hilaire home, law enforcement recovered half of a blue pill known to be laced with fentanyl as well as four oxycodone pills. They also confiscated tin foil with burn marks and a pen with its contents removed. Both of those items are consistent with drug usage.
Cooper’s fiancé had recently proposed to her. He said the couple had been sober for 10 days, but they relapsed that day. He said their drug of choice is usually opiates. The fiancé allegedly said he had met Morin at Holiday, where Morin had given him pills laced with fentanyl. The man said Morin borrowed him part of the money needed for the pills. He said he typically buys pills from Morin and paid $200 for four pills.
Afterward, the man picked up Cooper and the couple went home. They later used three of the pills. The man fell asleep for an hour, awoke and went to the bathroom. Upon returning to the bedroom, he saw that the fourth pill was gone and Cooper was slumped over. The man then yelled to his mom to call 911.
Shortly after Cooper’s death, the deputy went to the home of Cooper’s foster parents to notify them. He learned the name of Cooper’s biological mother, who lives out of state. Law enforcement there informed her about her daughter’s death. She later called the deputy, agreeing that an autopsy could be completed on her daughter’s body.
Cooper’s fiancé provided law enforcement with Morin’s cell phone number. Verizon assisted in locating his cell phone, which was present at his home, 107 Maple Ave. N. A Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force officer, two deputies, three police officers and a Minnesota State Patrol trooper executed a search warrant at the home at 3:12 a.m. Friday. Morin, two women and an 8-year-old boy were found at the home. The boy was located in a room where law enforcement discovered a glass methamphetamine pipe. They tested the pipe, which had a presumptive positive test result for meth. Morin and his girlfriend had been staying at the home for about a month. The permanent resident indicated that her grandson stayed upstairs while the couple stayed in the basement. She knew about meth pipes at the home.
Besides the pills and meth pipe listed earlier, law enforcement allegedly found a plastic pen with its contents removed and $954 in cash. The latter two items were found on Morin.
Morin allegedly told law enforcement that he uses fentanyl and he and his girlfriend argue about his drug use. He admitted possessing the pills and selling them. Morin said his girlfriend doesn’t know about the drug sales, which are conducted elsewhere.
Morin allegedly admitted meeting the man at Holiday after the man called him, asking for pills. Morin said he didn’t remember much, but he said the man paid him $250 in cash since the man owes him $1,600. He said the two of them haven’t gotten along for about a month since the man owes him money. Morin denied selling the man the pills; however, he said he planned to give the man-pills after the man provided him with an additional $250 the next day. He said he usually charges $50 per pill.
Morin allegedly said the man probably got the pills from another Thief River Falls man, who possesses all of the pills sold in town. That supplier is, in turn, obtaining the pills from a second Thief River Falls man. Morin indicated he obtained his pills through that supply channel.