Woodbury teen Tara Fitzgerald's overdose death leads to five murder charges

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Cole Matenaer (right) is one of five teens facing a murder charge in connection with the death of Fitzgerald (left).
Five teenagers -- including three minors -- face third-degree murder charges in connection with the synthetic drug overdose death of 17-year-old Woodbury resident Tara Fitzgerald.

All five were allegedly involved in the drug dealing chain that resulted in Fitzgerald and a friend of hers ingesting a substance they believed to be LSD while they were hanging out at Fitzgerald's house around midnight on January 11.

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After swallowing two small square pieces of pink paper, the two girls took photos and videos of themselves under the influence, according to the criminal complaint. But their trip took a turn for the worse a couple hours later when Fitzgerald started moaning and apparently having muscle spasms.

Around 9 a.m., Fitzgerald's mother was summoned to the scene. She called 911, and Fitzgerald was transported to Regions Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Fitzgerald's friend told police she obtained the LSD-like drug, later determined to be a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance called 25i-NBOMe, from a 17-year-old classmate named Brian Norlander. Norlander, in turn, told police he got the strips from Alistair Berg, also 17. Berg said he got the drugs from 17-year-old Sydney Johnson. Johnson told police she sold the drugs to Berg for $30, which is the same price Norlander said he paid for them.

Johnson told police she bought three doses of the drug from 19-year-old Cole Matenaer back in October. On January 13, Matenaer was arrested while driving a black Audi. Thirty-four doses of a substance similar to the one Fitzgerald ingested were found in his vehicle.

Matenaer said he sold the doses for $10 each, and admitted to selling "a lot" of them in Woodbury, including some to Johnson. The criminal complaint details calls Matenaer allegedly made from jail that were recorded by officers.

(For more, click to page two).



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