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A mom’s quest to put a deadly drug dealer behind bars

Mom fights to put deadly drug dealer behind bars

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Tammy Fennell is on a nearly two-year quest to get justice for her son who died of an overdose.

She says prosecutors have failed to charge the person who sold her son the drugs.

On Oct. 30, 2021, the manager of TownePlace Suites by Marriott Bloomington called 911. He told the dispatcher, “I’m just walking my property, and there is a deceased white male in a crashed, red Ford Focus.”

The dispatcher responded, “He’s deceased you said?”

The manager said, “Oh, yeah, looks like he’s been here a while, Jesus. His rigor mortis already set in.”

That’s the day Fennell lost her only child, Ricky Moore, to an overdose. He was 38 years old.

“I just knew something was wrong. I kept telling my husband that something’s not right because he always got a hold of me,” Fennell said.

Ricky had struggled with addiction since around 2008.

Fennell said, “Anybody can become addicted starting out with pain pills and never think that they were going to.”

In her grief, her quest for justice began.

Bloomington Police Department found messages on Ricky’s Facebook account, including a conversation he had with someone in his attempt to find drugs. Fennell provided screenshots of the messages to I-Team 8.

Fennell also provided I-Team 8 with bodycam video of a Bloomington police detective who tracked that person down in the sallyport of the Monroe County Jail after she was arrested on an unrelated warrant six months after Ricky’s death.

The detective read the woman her Miranda rights and said, “Based on cellphone messages, it looks like he reached out to you. You helped him get that dope. You guys used together and he fell out.”

She claimed Ricky already had drugs when he came to meet up with her.

Woman: “He had dope on him already to. Yes, he did.”

Detective: “No, he didn’t.”

Woman: “Yes, he did. We did a shot in the parking lot before we even left the hotel.”

Detective: “Then why would he give you money to go buy more dope if he already had some?”

Woman: “Because he wanted more, I guess.”

Detective: “So, you used his dope and then he’s out so he gives you money. You go buy some more dope and you guys share that.”

Woman: “Mhm.”

Detective: “Right?”

Woman: “Right.”

After going for a drive, the woman said she and Ricky went back to TownePlace Suites, where she left him in the car while she went inside.

Woman: “He didn’t want to go in. I mean, he was asleep. He was just passed out, but on everything that I love he was literally breathing, sleeping, snoring.”

Hours later, Ricky was dead inside the car. Also inside: an unused vial of Naloxon, which could have reversed his overdose.

Woman: “I didn’t kill him.”

Detective: “I’m not saying you killed him. The dope killed him. I got the autopsy, right? The dope killed him. You didn’t.”

Woman: “I don’t understand why.”

Detective: “The dope that you got him ended up killing him, and that’s why I’m going to try and put a case on you for dealing resulting in death.”

Woman: “I wasn’t dealing.”

Detective: “Well, when you facilitate a drug transaction by taking his money and I’ve got the messages, right? You facilitate the drug transaction by taking his money and going to purchase dope which he then uses and dies from. That’s dealing resulting in death.”

In the year and a half since the detective talked to the suspect, the Monroe County Prosecutor’s office has not filed charges in connection with Ricky’s death.

His mom Fennell said, “Not trying is just total disregard for his life.”

News 8 showed the evidence Fennell provided to us to former prosecutor Sonia Leerkamp.

She told I-Team 8, “There are definitely elements of potential negligence on the part of the person with whom Mr. Moore was consuming the drugs, but in my opinion proving criminal responsibility beyond a reasonable doubt would be very challenging.”

Fennell told I-Team 8 that the Monroe County deputy prosecutor handling her son’s case had told her something similar.

Fennell believes enough evidence exists to convict the woman for dealing resulting in death. She just wants the prosecutor to try it in court.

What would it mean to Fennell if prosecutors came and said they’re finally charging the woman?

“A relief. Just a relief that they’re making an effort,” Fennell said.

Fennell said she just wants a jury to decide.

The Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office told News 8 that a further review of the case happening.