Friday, September 10th, 2010
Woman wants to attend funeral
Natasha Chiles faces charges related to boyfriend's death
By Margie Wuebker
CELINA - Natasha Chiles wept in Celina Municipal Court this morning pleading for permission to attend the funeral of Tyler Michael Christian - the victim of an alleged heroin overdose.
Chiles, whom Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox said faces more serious charges in the coming weeks, made an initial appearance on a misdemeanor charge of obstructing official business filed within hours of the death of her 19-year-old boyfriend.
The charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine, alleges she denied involvement in Christian's death during two interviews with Mercer County Sheriff's detectives. In addition, she allegedly denied being told by several people that Christian needed medical assistance and that heroin might be involved in his medical needs.
"We have pretty serious concerns that she has some involvement in Mr. Christian's death by providing heroin or assisting in its use," Fox said, in defense of maintaining the $75,000 cash bond.
He added others could be charged in connection with Christian's death as the investigation continues. Chiles, 21, faces a felony count of possessing drugs after a urine test administered in Auglaize County detected the presence of heroin.
Chiles, who periodically mouthed questions to her mother seated across the courtroom, initially expressed concern about her three small children and their belongings currently in boxes at the Orchard Avenue residence she shared with Christian. She fears the property owner will throw everything away.
Judge James Scheer listened to her concerns, pointing out the case at hand is a more serious because it involves a death.
Her pleas for house arrest and the opportunity to attend the Sunday afternoon funeral became tearful in the wake of the assistant prosecutor's request to maintain the cash bond.
"My boyfriend died in my arms," she cried. "His funeral is Sunday and I want to go."
The emotional display continued as Scheer commented, "There is way too much heroin in this county ... leading to thefts, overdoses and even deaths. The problem is not getting any better; it's getting worse."
Chiles, handcuffed about the wrists and shackled around the ankles, shuffled back to her seat while loudly pleading with her mother - "Mom, once they put him in the ground I can't see him anymore."
Fox told the judge there are plans to talk with Christian's parents, Pastor Randy and Tricia Christian, to see whether the family wants Chiles at the funeral home. The matter would then go to Sheriff Jeff Grey for resolution.
Chiles called 911 at 9:29 a.m. Wednesday tearfully telling a dispatcher she was unable to arouse Christian. She said she had even resorted to pouring cold water on him without any response.
Responding to questions from the dispatcher, she indicated Christian had no pulse and that she would start CPR. Paramedics continued resuscitation en route to Joint Township District Memorial Hospital in St. Marys, where he was pronounced dead about 10:30 a.m.
Auglaize County Coroner Dr. Thomas Freytag ordered an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Fox said the reports are being expedited.
The case will be forwarded to the Mercer County grand jury.