A Thief River Falls woman has been charged with third-degree murder in the August drug overdose death of another Thief River Falls woman.
Hailey Michelle Sheridan, 29, has been charged with felony offenses of third-degree murder and third-degree sale of a controlled substance. She was arrested Tuesday, March 16.
The charges stemmed from the August death of Melonie Dawn Fayette, 43, Thief River Falls. Fayette had been found unresponsive on July 23 at her apartment at Northland Village. She was transported to Sanford Medical Center in Thief River Falls. Fayette was then stabilized and airlifted to Fargo, N.D. She remained on life support until her death. Her obituary stated that she died Aug. 2 whereas the criminal complaint indicated that Fayette died six days later.
A urinalysis found opiates in Fayette’s system. No other controlled substances were found. She was in renal failure when she was admitted to the hospital. It was determined that the renal failure immediately occurred after Fayette had ingested a heroin/fentanyl mixture. Sheridan allegedly obtained the mixture for Fayette.
County Attorney Seamus Duffy said he doesn’t anticipate that anyone else will be charged in connection with Fayette’s death.
On the nightstand next to the bed where Fayette was lying, law enforcement found a small glass plate containing a small piece of paper with a white powder. It tested positive for fentanyl.
Fayette’s phone was taken into evidence. On her phone, law enforcement allegedly found conversations regarding narcotics sales involving Fayette and Sheridan. Search warrants were later executed for Sheridan’s cell phone, her two Facebook accounts, and Fayette’s Facebook accounts.
A sheriff’s deputy spoke with Sheridan. She allegedly denied knowing that Fayette had been hospitalized for an opiate-related overdose and denied knowing who had given the drug to Fayette. He confronted her about the messages between the two women, but Sheridan continued to deny any knowledge of a drug transaction.
In an interview with law enforcement weeks after Fayette’s death, Sheridan’s dad said Sheridan had arrived at his home on the day of Fayette’s death. She was frantic and emotional, saying she believed Fayette had overdosed on heroin and may die. Sheridan also believed she would be associated with Fayette’s possible death. She wanted someone to go to Fayette’s apartment to check on her.
Sheridan’s dad remembered Sheridan telling her mom that she had allegedly told Fayette to not take too much of the drug. She also told her mom that she didn’t want Fayette to die.
Sheridan’s father confirmed that Sheridan had gone to the reservation to purchase heroin and knew it was potent.
On Facebook, law enforcement allegedly found messages between Sheridan and others in which she indicated that she had obtained the heroin/fentanyl substance for Fayette.
Sheridan communicated with a man on July 23, asking him to bring a scale since she and at least one other person were meeting with others at the casino. She said she would “freak out” because she wanted drugs and to get high. Later, she tried calling him numerous times and wrote that he needed to call her as soon as possible since she was “freaking out.”
Later, Sheridan allegedly referred to Fayette’s overdose and getting out of prison in 10 years. She told him that a man, presumably Fayette’s dad, was going to Fayette’s apartment. At one point, the man told Sheridan that someone needed to get Fayette’s phone.
The two of them continued to communicate. The following day, the man wrote that the cops wanted to know if she had sold the drug to Fayette. Sheridan replied that she hadn’t “technically” sold the drug to her. The man told Sheridan that law enforcement knew everything about the texts between Sheridan and Fayette. Sheridan said she didn’t have a text saying that she had sold the drug to Fayette.
Law enforcement also obtained a Facebook recording in which Fayette told the man to contact her as soon as possible. She told him not to use the drug and it was important.
On July 24, Sheridan told her brother that Fayette was on a ventilator and had suffered brain damage, and was in a coma. She allegedly said Fayette had overdosed on a drug that the two of them had obtained.
On July 26, she told her brother that Pine to Prairie Drug Task Force had been looking for her a day earlier and she didn’t know what to do. She continued to communicate with her brother about Fayette’s condition, noting there was minor brain damage at one point and that Fayette would probably have to learn to walk again.
On July 29, she told him that Fayette wasn’t doing well medically and Sheridan was panicking.
On Aug. 2, she informed her brother that life support measures were being removed from Fayette. She told him that law enforcement would probably be looking for her in full force.
Communications with two other men
On the day of Fayette’s overdose, Sheridan communicated with another relative. She indicated she was going to end up in jail.
The next day, Sheridan communicated with a third man. He informed her that it wasn’t her fault and Fayette had used the drug on her own. Sheridan allegedly responded that she “technically” didn’t sell the drug to Fayette, who had instead bought it herself.
The man asked if law enforcement wanted to know the identity of the person from whom she was obtaining the drugs in Bemidji. She replied that she wouldn’t provide that person’s name and she didn’t know what to do. He advised her to tell law enforcement that it was Fayette’s connection. Sheridan allegedly replied that she planned to say Fayette had utilized someone that another woman had suggested.
Sheridan wrote that she hoped Fayette didn’t say it was Sheridan who had supplied the drug. She advised him to be careful with the drug in his possession and to delete his messages since Fayette hadn’t deleted her messages.