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Woman accused in drug death of Waukesha man

Ex-Merton woman bought heroin for Waukesha man

April 3, 2012

Waukesha - A former Town of Merton woman was charged last week for allegedly supplying heroin to a Waukesha man who later died from an overdose of the drug.

Natasha A. Hedstrom, 25, now of Madison, was charged in Waukesha County Circuit Court with a felony count of first-degree reckless homicide for the death of Shawn R. Ropel, 30, on Nov. 29, 2011. Hedstrom was also charged with misdemeanor counts of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance. According to online court records, Hedstrom had previously lived in the Town of Merton and was a 2005 graduate of Arrowhead High School.

According to the criminal complaint filed March 27, Hedstrom told police she first met Ropel on Nov. 26 through a mutual friend. Hedstrom said Ropel wanted to purchase Adderall and heroin, and he agreed to give her one bag of heroin for driving him to Milwaukee, the complaint said.

Ropel was unable to drive at the time, as he did not have a driver's license. Ropel was charged in Milwaukee County on Oct. 25, 2011, for third-offense drunken driving and driving with a revoked license. On Feb. 22, 2011, Ropel was charged with third-offense drunken driving and carrying a concealed weapon. As a condition of his bail, Ropel was not to operate a vehicle unless properly licensed and not to possess or consume alcohol or drugs, unless prescribed by a physician. Both cases were still pending at the time of Ropel's death.

Hedstrom said she bought four bags of heroin, and Ropel gave her one bag back. Hedstrom said she used the heroin, but Ropel said he could not use the drug until he passed a drug test two days later, the complaint said. Hedstrom told police she received numerous text messages from Ropel on Nov. 28 asking her to purchase heroin, the complaint said.

Hedstrom said she was in Madison at the time and did not pick up Ropel until about 7:30 p.m., and they drove to Milwaukee and again bought four bags of heroin. Ropel gave her one bag, and the two both used the drug while they were still in Milwaukee, she said. They then drove to Ropel's house on Summit Avenue, the complaint said.

About one hour after arriving at Ropel's residence, Hedstrom said, she thought Ropel again used the drug by the way he was acting, the complaint said. Ropel asked Hedstrom for a backrub and while doing so she began to hear Ropel snore. She tried to wake him up, and when she turned him over saw his face had turned blue, the complaint said.

Hedstrom tried CPR and splashed water on his face to no avail, and she called 911 at about 2:35 a.m. Nov. 29. The Waukesha County Medical Examiner's Office determined Ropel died of acute heroin intoxication, the complaint said.

A warrant has been issued for Hedstrom's arrest.

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