A 19-year-old New Freedom man and his high-school girlfriend regularly snorted lines of heroin together, and he started to become concerned she would become dependent on the drug, according to court documents.
Seventeen-year-old Alexandra Marie Sneed had other interests as well. She'd previously played soccer and softball, and had played violin for her school orchestra. She worked at a local fast-food restaurant, and split her time between her father's home and mother's home, according to her obituary and court records.
During the last two months of her life, the Susquehannock High School senior and boyfriend Tyler Shane Valentine were snorting heroin weekly, according to charging documents filed Wednesday by Southern Regional Police.
On Feb. 13, the "recreational" heroin use killed her.
Boyfriend charged: Valentine, of 31 E. Franklin Street, is now accused of causing Alexandra's death. He is in York County Prison on $750,000 bail, charged with drug delivery resulting in death, heroin possession with intent to deliver, corrupting a minor and possession of drug paraphernalia.
It's the second time in a week police in York County filed charges against a person suspected of supplying heroin to a person who fatally overdosed.
Alexandra's official cause of death is mixed substance toxicity, including heroin, York County Coroner Pam Gay said. The teen also had Xanax and marijuana in her system, documents state.
According to his charging documents, Valentine told police he and Alexandra had dated for about two years, and they smoked pot together and snorted heroin sometimes.
Wanted more: Valentine told investigators that Alexandra's tolerance for the opiate was increasing, and she wanted more and more of it, police said; Valentine said he feared she would become addicted and begin injecting heroin.
"Valentine said he had been in rehab before and didn't want Sneed to get to the point where she would need rehab," charging documents state.
He said he and Alexandra drove to Baltimore together the night of Feb. 12 and he bought three bags of heroin for $50, police said.
Back at Valentine's home, he cut the heroin into two lines, with each of them snorting one line, police said.
The couple then watched a movie, with Alexandra occasionally nodding off and Valentine waking her up, documents state.
Fell asleep: About 12:30 a.m. Feb. 13, they fell asleep. When Valentine awoke about 8 a.m., he saw that his girlfriend was pale and her lips were blue, according to documents.
Unable to rouse her, Valentine started to "freak out," drawing the attention of his mother, who started CPR on the girl while Valentine called 911, documents state. Alexandra was rushed to York Hospital but could not be revived, police said.
It is unclear whether Valentine has retained an attorney, and his mother could not be reached for comment.
The punishment for drug delivery resulting in death is the same as third-degree murder — a maximum of 20 to 40 years in prison, York County District Attorney Tom Kearney said.
Enforcing the law: Kearney said his office doesn't intend to prosecute every person who shares heroin with someone who fatally overdoses.
"I'm not interested in pursuing junkies," he said. "What I am interested in is pursuing people who are supplying heroin that kills people. ... We're seeing a tremendous increase (in the number of fatal heroin ODs) and we have to do something about it."
Kearney said he could not discuss Valentine's case in great detail, but did say there's more to it than merely what is alleged in charging documents.
"I think you will find this isn't simply two kids who were sharing heroin," he said. "I think that will become clear as the evidence reveals itself."
The numbers: The number of heroin overdose deaths nationwide has increased 45 percent from 2006 to 2010, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.
One reason for the rise appears to be the increase in popularity of abusing prescription opiates, such as OxyContin, Kearney has said. When addicts can no longer afford prescription pills, heroin in a cheaper alternative.
"Now we have 17 confirmed heroin-related deaths" in York County so far in 2014, Kearney said, plus three more suspected deaths in which toxicology tests are still pending.
"That's compared to 15 in all of last year," he said.
Kearney said he believes he has a mandate from the community to take action, and said it's a priority for his office.
"I don't make any claim that I'm going to stop (users) who want to play Russian roulette with their brains," he said. "What I can stop, I believe, is death from happening on some occasions. And I think I have an obligation to prosecute people who cause death with heroin."
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org.