Austin woman charged with murder in March overdose case

Published 2:10 pm Thursday, September 1, 2022

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An Austin woman is in custody at the Mower County Jail after being charged with murder in connection to an overdose death of  an Austin man in March of this year.

Yashica Shenay Thomas, 43, was charged in Mower County District Court Thursday morning with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter along with a five felony drug charges, including second degree drugs – selling in a park zone, in the March 8 death of an unidentified 22-year-old male after it was discovered that Thomas sold him the drugs. 

According to the court complaint, the victim was discovered in an upstairs bathroom by his mother when she went to check on him after telling her he was going to take a shower. According to the complaint, the victim was at the home trying to get clean.

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Police were dispatched to the home in the 900 block of Fourth Street NW at around 10:09 p.m. the night of March 8, where officers discovered the victim lying face-up in the bathroom.

The family had initiated CPR and had administered both nasal and injectable Narcan. Mayo Ambulance paramedics were attempting to revive the victim when police arrived, however at around 10:11 p.m., paramedics observed no sustainable life and the victim was pronounced dead.

An autopsy later concluded that the death was a result of “acute toxic effects of fentanyl.”

The complaint goes on to say that police discovered drug paraphernalia in the victim’s room that included a small plastic baggie containing suspected marijuana, a small cellophane baggie containing suspected heroin and crumpled tin foil.

Additional items, including tin foil with burnt residue on it, were discovered in the bathroom and in the victim’s wallet, which contained a folded up piece of tin foil that contained a white powdery substance.

Detectives investigating the case discovered messages on the victim’s cellphone from the day before, on March 7, that indicated he was looking to buy, however the source was out of town and directed the victim to “Yashica Thomas.”

On March 8, messages detailed the victim’s contact with Thomas, who lives in the 2700 block of Third Avenue SW, apartment No. 7, which is next to Shirley Theel Memorial Park.

On Aug. 30, detectives obtained a search warrant for Thomas’ apartment and turned up multiple tin foil folds with suspected fentanyl and other items that are indicative of the sale of fentanyl.

Detectives made contact with the suspect and she agreed to answer some questions, to which Thomas said “I have nothing to hide.”

During the subsequent interviews, court documents state that Thomas allegedly admitted to selling drugs to “make a little extra money,” and also admitted it was a way of avoiding using so much of it herself.

Thomas also allegedly admitted to recognizing the victim when shown a picture and that she communicated with him through Facebook messenger the day that he died. She told police that she had sold drugs to the victim “once or twice,” before confirming the last time was in March of 2022.

Thomas’ next court appearance is slated for Sept. 15. The third degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and/or a $40,000 fine.