Man charged in UW-Stout student's death

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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU)-- David Thorne made his initial appearance in Dunn County court this afternoon. He is charged with first degree reckless homicide and the delivery of drugs.

According the criminal complaint Thorne admitted to giving Jenson oxycodone and taking it together before going out for a night of drinking.

On January 22nd 2014 police and paramedics were called to a home on 6th street in Menomonie for a report of an unconscious woman. Thorne told police he had woken up to find Jesse Jensen unresponsive and called for help.

Thorne told officers he was visiting Jenson, who was a friend he had known for ten years. He told officers he gave her 30 mg of oxycodone.
Thorne said while he was in the shower he believes Jensen crushed the pill and when he got out he snorted what he believed was the other half of the pill.

Menomonie Police Chief Eric Atkinson says the use and exchange of narcotics is a growing problem in Western Wisconsin.

“Just because it’s a prescription drug doesn't mean it can't cause problems when mixed with other drugs and alcohol,” said Atkinson.

According to court documents Jenson died of a poly drug overdose and had heroin, oxycodone and alcohol in her system. Atkinson says while he can't comment on the case against Thorne, its important people understand the consequences associated with using and sharing drugs.

“We want people to know that if you are going to be distributing these drugs in our communities and putting our members at risk, you are going to be held responsible for those actions,” said Atkinson.

Thorne’s next court appearance is scheduled for April 15th.


Nearly two months after a UW-Stout student is found dead in her home, police have the final results of the autopsy and have made an arrest in connection with her death.

23-year-old Jesse D. Jensen was found dead in her home on January 22nd.

While police were investigating the case, they say David J. Thorne admitted to giving Jensen Oxycodone.

A toxicology test confirmed she had a mix of Oxycodone and Morphine in her blood and a blood alcohol level of .16.

Police arrested Thorne on Wednesday in Menomonie for First Degree Reckless Homicide and Delivery of a Narcotic.

UW-Stout issued a statement. The chancellor is calling on staff to look at recommendations on how to further deal with the issue of drugs and alcohol on campus.

"Obviously we are concerned and sad we lost a student as a result of alcohol and narcotics, we have not seen that kind of situation on our campus," said Joan Thomas, Dean of Students.

She says the university has a chancellor's coalition that focuses on drug and alcohol problems. She says that group will be giving the problem a deeper look.

"We'll move forward and this will become a bigger focus of that coalition, not just because of Jesse's death but because of a national trend in the use of narcotic drugs," she said.

Thomas says Stout, like other colleges, is not immune from the problem. And that is something Maddy Ranshaw believes, too.

"I do think it's a problem and the drugs adding into it too can create a disastrous effect," she said.

Ranshaw lives across the street from Jesse's house. And while she did not know Jesse personally, this whole event has still had an effect on her life.

"Without knowing her I was still really upset about it and it was a sad thing to happen," Ranshaw said. "I think any effort to prevent this from happening again would be a good idea."


Police have arrested a man in connection to the death of a UW-Stout student.

Menomonie Police say David J. Thorne was arrested in Menomonie on Wednesday for first-degree reckless homicide and delivery of a narcotic in the death of 23-year-old Jesse Jensen.

Police say toxicology results show Jensen had a mixture of morphine and oxycodone in her system and a blood alcohol content of .16 when she died on January 22nd.

Officers say during the investigation, Thorne was interviewed and confessed to providing oxycodone to Jensen the night before she was found.

Local authorities have concluded that UW-Stout student Jesse D. Jensen, who was found deceased at her home in Menomonie on Jan. 22, had a mixture of drugs and alcohol in her system. Jesse was from Owen, Wis., and was a senior majoring in industrial design with a minor in business administration.

Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen released the following statement:
“Our first priority at this time is continuing to help comfort Jesse’s family during this time of grief. Jesse was a bright and talented young woman, and her passing is tragic for everyone who knew her.

“This incident is an indication that no one is safe from the dangers of drug abuse. I am asking the Dean of Students office and the Chancellor’s Coalition on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse to forward recommendations to me on a plan to assess and address the use of narcotics, along with alcohol, by our students.”

Dean of Students Joan Thomas released the following statement:
“This incident is a wake-up call about the severity of the alcohol and narcotics problem in communities across Wisconsin. However, it is important to note a few facts: Our students report little use of narcotics. In fact less than 1 percent reported during a 2013 survey that they used any narcotic, and 3 percent reported misusing prescription pain medication.

“We are aware of the national, state and regional trends concerning the use of narcotics. My office will begin working immediately with the Chancellor’s Coalition on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse to develop the plan that Chancellor Sorensen has requested.”

The man arrested in connection with the death, David J. Thorne, is not a student at UW-Stout.