Crime

Police ask for help finding alleged heroin dealer charged in woman’s overdose death

Police on Monday asked for help finding an alleged heroin dealer charged in the overdose death of a 23-year-old Lee’s Summit woman.

The Lee’s Summit Police Department said it was searching for Jared M. Daniels, 28, who was charged over the weekend with felony murder in the death of Taylor Stephens in March, according to a post on the department’s Facebook page.

Police asked anyone who knew his whereabouts to call the department’s TIPS Hotline at 816-969-1752 or send a message on Facebook. People who know his immediate location were asked to call the dispatch center at 816-969-7390.

Jackson County prosecutors announced on Saturday that Daniels had been charged with second-degree felony murder and delivery of a controlled substance.

Jared M. Daniels.jpg
Jared M. Daniels Lee's Summit Police Department

According to court documents:

About 7 p.m. March 28, Stephens’ boyfriend found her unresponsive, underwater in a bathtub at their home in the 1700 block of Northeast White Drive.

Despite efforts by emergency medical workers, Stephens was pronounced dead at a hospital about an hour later. Police found a syringe, a rubber tourniquet and a syringe cap in the bathroom.

An autopsy revealed the cause of her death to be drowning with “other significant condition to be acute heroin and Fentanyl intoxication.”

During their investigation, police learned that Daniels was allegedly selling heroin and he had allegedly sold heroin to Stephens the afternoon of her death.

Police conducted surveillance on Daniels and had him stopped on April 9 because he was driving while he had a suspended or revoked driver’s license. He was arrested and police allegedly found him in possession of heroin, other drugs and drug paraphernalia.

During an interview, Daniels allegedly told detectives that he does deal in heroin. He said he knew Daniels and that he allegedly supplied her with heroin on the day of her death.

Daniels, however, recanted that statement allegedly saying, “Well, I know for a fact that what I got and what I handed over isn’t what put her down.”

During a search of Stephens’ phone, police allegedly found a text conversation between her and Daniels on March 28 arranging to buy heroin. The texts allegedly show they met shortly before noon at a Walmart.

Video from Walmart shows Stephens arriving there with Daniels, according to charging documents. She remained in the store until she left in a truck that later was determined to be her father’s. While at Walmart, there is no footage showing Stephens met with anyone else.

Police concluded that she didn’t meet with or contact anyone else other than Daniels to obtain the heroin.

While investigating the case, police learned that another man was found dead in his home of an overdose. That victim allegedly had obtained heroin from Daniels and died three days before Stephens.

Prosecutors have requested a $250,00 bond.

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Robert A. Cronkleton gets up very early in the morning to bring readers breaking news about crime, transportation and weather at the crack of dawn. He’s been at The Star since 1987 and now contributes data reporting and video editing.
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