By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — A Columbia City woman was recently arrested for failing to report a dead body after fleeing a scene where a man overdosed and died.
Amanda Rose Ramsey, 39, 349 N. Wolf Road, Columbia City, is charged with failure to report human remains, a class A misdemeanor.
On Sept. 17, a Warsaw Police officer received a report from a man about a possible deceased male near the area of the Victory Hotel, 244 W. Jefferson St., Warsaw. The officer checked the Victory Hotel first and asked if anyone there knew the victim. Those who answered said the victim did not live at the hotel.
According to court documents, the officer eventually located the victim’s mother, who initially asked why the officer was looking for her son. Upon being told that her son may have overdosed on drugs, the mother immediately became concerned and asked the officer to follow her into a different building.
The mother attempted to open the door to the victim’s apartment, but the door was locked. She also mentioned a woman, later identified as Ramsey, who frequented the victim’s apartment. The mother said she did not appreciate Ramsey spending time with the victim.
The mother and officer eventually made entry into the apartment, where they located the deceased male. Officers administered Narcan and attempted to find a pulse, but were unable to find one.
An officer asked the man who reported the deceased male how the victim’s condition came to his attention. The man said Ramsey had driven the victim’s car to his residence and said Ramsey was in a panicked state. Ramsey said she thought the victim was dead or dying. The man told the officer Ramsey did not call 911 when she first found the victim in his condition because she did not want to go to jail. The man also told the officer he believed the victim may have overdosed on heroin.
According to court documents, the man made contact with Ramsey via telephone. The officer began speaking with Ramsey; during the phone conversation, Ramsey asked if the victim was okay. Ramsey agreed to stay at the man’s home until the officer arrived for questioning.
While driving to speak with Ramsey, the officer noticed the coroner going to the victim’s apartment. At that point in time, medics had also stopped medical treatment and believed the victim to be deceased.
Ramsey immediately asked if the victim was alive when the officer arrived to speak with her; when told that he was dead, Ramsey became upset and started to cry.
Ramsey told the officer she had been at the victim’s residence when, after waking from a nap, she noticed the victim did not seem to be breathing. She initially thought the victim was “messing with her” because the victim had pretended to overdose in the past.
When asked about drug use, Ramsey said the victim typically paid for heroin and that they had both used drugs prior to falling asleep. Ramsey said she and the victim would go to Fort Wayne every other day to purchase narcotics.
When asked why she didn’t call 911, Ramsey said she knew she had warrants and did not want to go to jail. The officer told Ramsey that reporting an overdose is more important than avoiding a warrant. According to court documents, Ramsey appeared to realize the severity of her decision and agreed with the officer.
According to Indiana Code 35-45-19-3, a failure to report a dead body charge stems from when a person discovers or handles human remains and fails to report the human remains to a public safety officer, coroner, funeral director or physician within three hours after finding the human remains.
Ramsey was booked in the Kosciusko County Jail on Sept. 17, with a $450 cash bond.