Grafton man‚Äôs overdose, charges against woman accused of supplying drug part of an alarming trend in county
Ozaukee County officials didn‚Äôt need any more fodder for Wednesday‚Äôs heroin summit, but they got it in the overdose death of a 31-year-old Grafton man and the first drug-related homicide charges of 2014.
Joel C. Rebarchik died with a syringe in his hand Saturday, Jan. 18, in a basement bathroom of a house in Grafton, according to authorities.
The person accused of delivering the heroin believed to have killed Rebarchik, 33-year-old Kirsten A. Nadolski, was charged with first-degree reckless homicide last week.
Nadolski, who authorities said is from Cudahy but had been living at a Franklin motel, is also charged with one felony count of bail jumping. She was awaiting trial in Milwaukee County on a felony drug charge when she allegedly delivered the fatal dose of heroin to Rebarchik.
His overdose death comes at a time when authorities say heroin use has become epidemic in Ozaukee County, and it appears 2014 is picking up where 2013 ended ‚ÄĒ with an increasing body count and growing docket of court cases.
Last year began with the overdose death of 24-year-old Riley O. Knapp of Grafton and ended with the conviction of the 25-year-old Milwaukee man who provided him with the fatal dose of heroin. Joshua Gray, who pleaded guilty to the homicide charge, is to be sentenced Feb. 19. Ozaukee County prosecutors are recommending five years in prison and five years of extended supervision.
This year began with another Milwaukee drug dealer being convicted by an Ozaukee County jury of homicide for delivering the heroin blamed for the 2011 death of Mequon resident Erik Anderson Yakowicz. Timothy L. Reddick, 47, is also scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 19.
Now, another homicide case is working its way through the court system.
According to the criminal complaint filed Jan. 23, police were called to Rebarchik‚Äôs home at 1:05 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19, and found his body surrounded by the telltale signs of heroin use ‚ÄĒ a tourniquet, syringe packages and a ‚Äúcooker‚ÄĚ used to melt heroin into an injectable liquid.
Rebarchik‚Äôs father told authorities that the last time he had seen his son was the previous night, when Rebarchik appeared lethargic and impaired. Rebarchik told his dad that his addiction medication was affecting him, the complaint states.
Authorities also found Rebarchik‚Äôs cell phone and used text messages to connect him to Nadolski.
At 9:46 a.m. Saturday, Rebarchik texted Nadolski ‚ÄúI might want something today,‚ÄĚ according to the complaint.
Nadolski responded with a message that said Rebarchik would have to pick her up because she doesn‚Äôt have a car, and they would have to leave soon.
At 6:04 p.m. that day, Rebarchik texted Nadolski, ‚ÄúHoly (expletive) that great stuff,‚ÄĚ the complaint states.
Detectives from the Ozaukee County Sheriff‚Äôs Department obtained Nadolski‚Äôs cell phone number from Rebarchik‚Äôs phone, then obtained tracking information from Nadolski‚Äôs phone that lead them to the El Rancho Motel in Franklin, where they found heroin, according to the complaint.
Nadolski was arrested, and during an interview with detectives said that after Rebarchik sent her a text message on Jan. 18, he picked her up and they drove to Milwaukee to buy heroin from Nadolski‚Äôs dealer, the complaint states.
Nadolski said Rebarchik stayed in the car while she went to buy five bags of heroin. When she returned, she gave the drugs to Rebarchik. He gave her one of the bags as payment for her time.
Nadolski, who said Rebarchik had purchased heroin from her boyfriend a week earlier, was not aware during the interview that Rebarchik was dead, according to the complaint.
An autopsy performed on Jan. 20 concluded Rebarchik did not die of natural causes, and that there were several indications, including needle marks on his arm, that his death was caused by a drug overdose, the complaint states.
Just two months earlier, Nadolski was charged in Milwaukee County with one felony count of possession of narcotic drugs, but, the criminal complaint filed in Ozaukee County points out, that charge didn‚Äôt keep her off the streets.
She was initially released from custody on a signature bond, ordered not to possess controlled substances and to undergo drug tests.
One of those tests apparently was cause for concern because on Dec. 23 her bail was changed to $750 cash and she was turned over to an agency for drug monitoring.
But on Jan. 14, just four days before Rebarchik‚Äôs death, Nadolski‚Äôs bail was changed back to a signature bond and she was released, according to court records.
She is now being held in the Ozaukee County jail in lieu of $75,000 bail and faces a maximum 25 years in prison if convicted of the homicide charge.
She is scheduled to appear in court Thursday, Jan. 30, the day after Ozaukee County officials were to host a heroin summit intended to inform the public on the extent of the drug problem and illustrate the need for a multifaceted response.