A second person in Pike County during January was arrested concerning a drug delivery resulting in death. Like the earlier case, the death was caused by the use of Methadone, a prescription pain reliever.

BLOOMING GROVE - A second person in Pike County during January was arrested concerning a drug delivery resulting in death. Like the earlier case, the death was caused by the use of Methadone, a prescription pain reliever.

The most recent arrest was announced January 25th and involves a death that happened almost two years ago. That day, PA State Police at Blooming Grove charged 56-year-old Jeanine M. Shufelt of Dingmans Ferry, with one count of Drug Delivery Resulting in Death (felony), one count of Delivery of a Controlled Substance (felony) and Criminal use of a Communications Device (felony).

These charges relate to the February 18, 2016 death of 22-year-old Joseph Nagle of Dingmans Ferry. Evidence obtained during the investigation identified Shufelt as the person who sold methadone to Nagle which subsequently caused his death.

Shufelt was arraigned before District Judge Paul D. Menditto, Sr. Bail was set at $100,000. Shufelt is lodged at the Pike County Correctional Facility pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for January 30 at 10:30 a.m. at Judge Menditto’s court in Dingmans Ferry.

1st ruled as accidental

According to the affidavit filed in support of the charges by Trooper Mark Pizzuti and Trooper Ryan Kearney, an autopsy on the victim was performed on February 20, 2016, which at that time led to the manner of death as “accidental.” The autopsy showed that the victim died due to the combined effects of Alprazolam (Xanax) and Methadone intoxication.

Alprazolam, a DEA schedule IV second generation benzodiazepine, is used in management of anxiety disorders and depressive symptoms. Alcohol greatly enhances the activity of benzodiazepines, the affidavit notes, and can make Alprazolam toxic at low concentrations.

Methadone, a DEA schedule II opioid analgesic, is used in the treatment of opiate addiction as well as pain management.

On April 8, 2016, the victim’s mother was interviewed by Trooper Pizzuti. She related that the victim lived at home with her and he worked at Econo-Pak in Milford. He had been diagnosed with arthritis in 2012. The defendant knew the victim from work.

“Jen” offered her sympathies

At the time of the death the victim’s mother was on vacation in Florida. On February 18, 2016, almost immediately after she received word of her son’s death, she received an incoming call from an unknown mobile number. The mother answered and the female caller gave her first name as “Jen” and said she was a friend of the woman’s son. The caller said she was so sorry about what happened to Joey (the victim). Joey’s mother asked the caller what had happened.

Jen replied that the victim had contacted her earlier in the day and said that he was in pain. He asked her if she had anything and Jen admitted to giving the victim one Methadone pill earlier that day.

When Joey’s mother returned to her home in Pennsylvania, she found the victim’s cell phone number and looked at his text message. The affidavit states that she saw several text messages between the victim and Jen, the context of which allegedly showed the victim intended to buy “pain pills” from Jen.

At first the victim asked Jen for Xanax. Jen replied that she did not, but she had a few pain pills, These texts took place on the morning of February 18- the day Joey died.

The last text was at about 9:30 a.m. and indicated that the victim was leaving to go over to Jen’s house.

Jen subsequently texted the victim’s mother asking how she was doing. The mother asked Jen if she could meet her and Jen agreed. Joey’s mother told police that she intended to learn what happened to her son so she could inform the police and medical examiner.

They met on February 20, at Joey’s mother’s house. Joey’s mother confronted her about the text messages between Jen and Joey.

Deleted text messages

According to the police, Jen said she’d tell her what happened only if Joey’s mother deleted those text messages.

Joey’s mother told police that she was not thinking straight and was consumed with grief. She only wanted to learn what happened to her son, and agreed to delete the evidence. She did so in front of Jen.

At that time, according to the affidavit, Jen told her that Joey had asked for Xanax because he was in a lot of pain. Jen related she didn’t have any but her roommate has some “pain killers” she could sell him. Jen related at she sold the victim 13 Methadone pills and that he took two of those pills before she left the house. Jen said she didn’t charge him very much, and he was supposed to pay her that night since they get paid on Thursday.

Joey’s mother told police that she later found out that Jen was Jeanine Shufelt, who resides at the Wild Acres development in Dingmans Ferry.

The victim’s girlfriend related that she spoke to him by cell phone at 12:47 p.m. that day, and he “wasn’t making any sense.” She was later contacted by the victim’s brother who said that Joey was unresponsive.

Surveillance call

A surveillance call was set up by Trooper Pizzuti with the consent of Joey’s mother, the call being made to Jen. During that call Jen allegedly made several admissions concerning delivery of 13 Methadone pills to Joey on February 18, and instructing him on taking them. Jen also admitted on this call to being present when Joey’s mother deleted the text messages between Jen and the victim.

A search warrant was executed on April 15, 2016 at Jeanine M. Shufelt (“Jen”)’s residence. Police took into evidence, Xanax, an empty prescription bottle with a label indicating it had contained Methadone, suspected marijuana and assorted drug paraphernalia.

Both the defendant and her roommate were present. Trooper Pizzuti confronted them with the information from the investigation. According to the affidavit, Shufelt related to the trooper, that she had given the victim Xanax in the past and on day the victim died, he texted her begging for pain pills. Shufelt said she “gave” him 13 Methadone pills which were from her roommate’s prescription. Shufelt said that the victim took two of these pills before she left and he must have taken the rest later.

An autopsy report received January 18, 2018 by the investigators related that the amount of Methadone found in the victim’s system was the overriding factor that caused his death. Dr. Michael Coyer said in his report, “but for the use of Methadone by Mr. Nagle the morning of 2/18/16, he would not have died.”

This arrest came 16 days after charges were filed (January 9) in an unrelated case, against Anthony Damico, 36, of Long Pond, Pike County. That investigation alleges that Damico had delivered Methadone to a 21 year old male from Greene Township, resulting in the victim’s death. PA State Police, Blooming Grove are investigating that case as well.