Schenectady County

DNA aids drug probe following Schenectady overdose death

DNA found on a rubber band helped lead to a drug arrest related to a Schenectady woman’s 2014 heroin

DNA found on a rubber band helped lead to a drug arrest related to a Schenectady woman’s 2014 heroin overdose death, according to federal court filings.

Ronald T. Showers, 41, of Schenectady and Albany, is facing a federal charge of drug possession with intent to distribute stemming from a police investigation into the 19-year-old woman’s death in Schenectady, records show.

Showers isn’t directly tied to the woman’s death but he is accused of the possession of the heroin that may have led to her death, according to the federal complaint. Showers was formally indicted Wednesday.

The woman is not identified by name in the complaint, only by her initials, age and city of residence, Schenectady.

According to the original complaint, filed late last month and later unsealed:

Schenectady police searched the woman’s bedroom after her death and discovered seven pink-colored packets containing heroin. Holding them together, according to the complaint, was a rubber band.

Police sent the rubber band to the state police Forensic Investigation Center for DNA analysis. The lab found a male DNA profile.

As the investigation continued, the Federal Bureau of Investigation developed information linking the woman to Showers and that he may have had access to heroin.

Investigators won a court order to collect Showers’ DNA for comparison. Investigators did so and spoke briefly with him in January. He denied involvement in the woman’s death and denied seeing her the day before she died.

The lab determined Showers’ DNA to be consistent with the DNA on the rubber band, though mixed on the band with at least one other individual.

Investigators interviewed Showers again later in January at the FBI Albany Field Office, this time on video.

Showers told investigators he did not provide the woman heroin, but said he was with her for part of the day before she died.

He admitted he possessed rubber-banded heroin packets and hid them in the front passenger seat visor of her car and he planned to sell the packets.

Showers told investigators that the woman must have found the heroin, ingested it and died as a result.

Showers first appeared in U.S. District Court in Albany June 30 and the judge ordered him held. He is due in court next week.

Showers is represented by attorney Brian Devane, who declined to comment Thursday.

The case follows one brought by federal prosecutors against a man last fall related to the October 2014 heroin overdose death of 30-year-old Katie-Lynn Scheidt of Saratoga Springs.

In that case, Matthew P. Charo, 34, faces one count of distribution of a controlled substance with death resulting, a charge that directly links the distribution with the woman’s death.

Charo is accused of going with Scheidt by bus from Saratoga Springs to Schenectady in early October 2014 to find heroin for her.

Charo bought heroin, provided it to her, and she later overdosed and died at her Saratoga Springs residence, according to a filing in that case.

Family members have said Scheidt appeared to be doing the right things in her recovery from substance abuse, then relapsed.

Charo’s case remains pending.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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