Katie-Lynn Scheidt appeared to be doing the right things last year in her recovery from substance abuse, family members say.
The 2002 Saratoga Springs High School graduate turned 30 that April, and she worked to address her addiction through programs and family help. Family members last week said they had seen a change in her for the better, and said others noticed it too.
Then, in early October 2014, she relapsed. She obtained heroin the evening of Oct. 2 and died of an overdose by early the next morning.
Accused of supplying the drugs that resulted her death is fellow Saratoga Springs resident Matthew P. Charo.
Charo, 34, appeared in U.S. District Court earlier this month, accused of going with Scheidt to Schenectady the evening of Oct. 2, 2014, in order to find Scheidt heroin. He found it, provided it to her and she overdosed, authorities allege in court filings.
Charo is formally charged with distribution of a controlled substance with death resulting from use of the controlled substance. The charge carries a potential sentence of up to life in prison.
Scheidt is identified in court paperwork only by her initials. Family members this week confirmed her identity.
“I’m very happy to know that there’s some justice being served in Katie’s case,” Scheidt’s mother, Eve Cascone of Wilton, told The Daily Gazette. “I kind of consider it as an ode to Katie, if you will. This doesn’t bring her back, but you know what? I feel like it’s her speaking out the way she wanted to.”
Family members recalled Scheidt as a woman who grew up full of life and enjoyed caring for others. They first learned of her battle with addiction in 2008. They believe she started with cocaine, moved to prescription drugs and then to heroin. She struggled with it in the years that followed, seeking treatment along the way.
They believed she finally got herself on the right track in April 2014, after she turned 30. She kept a daily planner charting some of her recovery. She went to programs and allowed family to be involved. She was looking forward.
Her brother, Brandon Scheidt, said when he thinks of his sister, he remembers the vibrant girl he grew up with. Her addiction had strained their relationship, he said. Reports that she was dedicated to recovering, he recalled, made him hopeful they might restore their previous relationship.
“I was starting to quietly think that there may be a chance for me and her to regain the relationship that we had for most of our lives,” Brandon Scheidt, 30, of Saratoga Springs, said. “That opportunity, that chance that I saw was taken away in a blindside at about 5:45 [a.m. Oct. 3, 2014] with a phone call.”
That phone call came as Katie-Lynn Scheidt’s boyfriend discovered her dead in their apartment bathroom.
The federal criminal complaint outlines an FBI and state police case that cites CDTA surveillance video of Katie-Lynn Scheidt and Charo going to Schenectady by bus, EBT card records and Charo’s own alleged admissions that serve as the basis for the federal count.
The surveillance footage shows Charo and Scheidt boarding a bus in Saratoga Springs that evening and getting off in Schenectady. Scheidt then boarded a bus back to Saratoga Springs.
Her longtime boyfriend, Eskey Moore, later told authorities that Scheidt returned home in a highly intoxicated condition. He discovered her dead in the bathroom the next morning.
Cellphone records showed Charo using his own cellphone to check the balance on Scheidt’s EBT card while in Schenectady, according to the federal filing.
Investigators spoke with Charo in June and he admitted to obtaining heroin for Scheidt, according to the filing. Authorities believe she unsuccessfully tried to get heroin earlier that day from another individual. Charo was Scheidt’s only source for the heroin that resulted in her overdose, investigators concluded.
Charo is represented by attorney Timothy F. Austin of the federal public defender’s office. Austin has declined to comment. Charo is being held pending trial on federal charges.
Scheidt’s family members are supporting state legislation called Laree’s Law to increase penalties in state court for similar accusations. The proposal would allow for penalties of up to 25 years in state prison for those convicted of selling drugs when the recipient dies as a result of using those drugs.
The law is named for Laree Farrell Lincoln, 18, who died of an overdose in Colonie in 2013. Laree’s mother, Patty Farrell of Colonie, is a former Albany police detective.
Scheidt’s father, Frederick Scheidt, is himself a retired state police sergeant.
Frederick Scheidt recalled the progress his daughter seemed to have made.
“The sad irony,” he said, “is that it appears that she was starting to go in the right direction.”