CELINA - The husband of a Celina woman who was found dead late Tuesday reportedly obtained a prescription medicine patch for recreational use, a police official said Thursday. The woman died and the man is now facing criminal charges.
Michelle Riley, 36, was found dead in her home at 428 E. Livingston St. at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday by her 11-year-old son, police Chief David Slusser said. Riley and her husband, Brett Riley, 42, had apparently chewed a portion of a fentanyl patch to obtain a heightened effect from the drug.
"It wasn't theirs," Slusser said. "Our investigation indicates it was purchased for recreational use."
The couple's 14-year-old daughter made the 911 call reporting the discovery after she and her 11-year-old brother discovered both parents unresponsive in a television room at the family's house.
Brett Riley was taken to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater, where he regained consciousness. Brett Riley was released Thursday morning and immediately arrested by Celina Police Department officers.
Riley is being held without bond in the Mercer County Jail on five felony charges - two counts of involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, corrupting another with drugs, and trafficking in drugs.
"It's a normal, middle-class family," Slusser said. "There are no stereotypical indications of a drug problem."
On Wednesday, Slusser said there was no evidence of forced entry or trauma. Investigators also found no evidence of a gas leak or low-oxygen levels. Food poisoning was also eliminated, he said.
The Montgomery County Coroner's Office has completed the autopsy on Michelle Riley, Slusser said. The preliminary results confirmed the Police Department's conclusions. A precise cause of death will only be known in four to six weeks when the results of toxicology tests come back.
Slusser said the family has no history of run-ins with his department.
The case, however, isn't the first fentanyl-related death Celina police have investigated. The others took place in July 2005, November 2006 and May 2007, Slusser said. Charges were filed in two of the previous three cases.
"This has got to be one of the most classic examples of the tragedy of drug abuse. Some people say, ‘Well, somebody wants to abuse drugs that's up to them, it's their body, it's their choice,'" Slusser said. "Look at what we've done. We've got a family that's just torn to pieces - the mother's dead, the father's facing charges for responsibility in her death, and the children are left with no one."