Man charged with murder in heroin overdose

Published 10:39 am Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A 23-year-old Austin man has been charged with selling heroin to a 23-year-old man who died of an alleged overdose last December.



Ryan Allen Anderson was charged Monday in Mower County District Court with felony third-degree murder through drugs. He was also charged earlier this month with felony third-degree sale of drugs and petty misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia for  heroin paraphernalia in a bedroom of an in-home daycare.

On Dec. 18, 2015, Austin police responded to the 700 block of 11th Avenue Southwest to a 23-year-old found unconscious in a bathroom, according to the court complaint. Officers found Tyler Burkey, of Austin, lying unresponsive on the floor, partially in the hallway and the bathroom, where family members had moved the victim in an attempt to revive him.

Email newsletter signup

Emergency personnel could not revive Burkey, who was pronounced dead. A Mayo Clinic autopsy revealed the cause was a heroin overdose.

The family members told officers they found him unconscious in the bathroom with a hypodermic needle near his feet and signs he had used drugs.

Officers also collected several more items from the bathroom and his bedroom consistent with drug use as well as Burkey’s cell phone.

Text messages on Dec. 17, 2015, revealed he was looking to buy heroin and negotiated a purchase with Anderson, according to the court complaint.

According to the complaint, Anderson visited Burkey’s house on Dec. 17, 2015, and met with him later that night at a different Austin house, which has been associated with heroin activity. Officers later found Anderson’s pattern would be to receive money first and then return later with the drugs, requiring two meetings between seller and buyer, according to the complaint.

Burkey had also texted another alleged drug dealer about no longer needing drugs and no other drug-related texts were on his phone after meeting with Anderson.

Family members told officers he left the residence at times consistent with text messages to Anderson. He then returned home for the rest of the night and watched TV before reportedly waking at some point early on Dec. 18 and using the drugs in the bathroom.

When Anderson was arrested earlier this month for possessing heroin paraphernalia in the in-home daycare, he denied any involvement with Burkey. Officers confirmed Anderson’s cell phone number matched the one listed in the victim’s phone.

Anderson then agreed he “probably” picked up money from Burkey the night of Dec. 17, 2015, and also claimed another heroin dealer left the house later that night and provided Burkey with heroin.

Officers interviewed others who knew Burkey’s heroin habits, which showed the amount of heroin allegedly purchased from Anderson would have lasted through the time of his death, with no need to purchase more, according to court records.

Officers showed Anderson the messages on Burkey’s phone with the other dealer, which indicated no transaction occurred, and then he admitted to meeting Burkey outside and delivering the heroin.

The investigation is still ongoing.

Anderson is next scheduled to appear in court on the third-degree murder charge on March 24. He’s scheduled to appear for possession of heroin in an in-home daycare on March 17.