Chippewa Falls woman arrested in overdose death investigation

The 33-year-old woman was taken into custody in April in Minnesota.
Chelsey Leith
Chelsey Leith(Eau Claire County Jail)
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 1:26 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A Chippewa Falls woman is in custody and charged in a homicide investigation involving a drug overdose in 2020.

33-year-old Chelsey Leith was arrested on April 28 in Minnesota and faces a charge of 1st-degree reckless homicide in Eau Claire County.

According to a criminal complaint, on Feb. 3, 2020, at about 9:54 p.m., Altoona Police officers responded to a home on Hayden Avenue in Altoona for a report of a man being pulseless and non-breathing. Officers were taken upstairs to his room where the man was found hunched over on the floor on his knees and elbows. An officer said the man was cold and rigid to the touch. Drug paraphernalia was seen in the room. The autopsy noted approximately 15 apparent needle injection marks on the man’s right arm and approximately 20-25 apparent needle injection marks in the left arm, concluding he likely died of an overdose. Officers learned that the man was a recovering heroin addict, who had been trying to get clean without medical assistance. The toxicology results indicated the presence of heroin, fentanyl, and THC in the man’s blood.

Investigators said that Leith, who was out on bond at the time for a 2019 case in Dunn County, provided the man the drugs prior to his death. A warrant for her arrest was issued Jan. 12, 2022 and charges were filed. She was arrested with the cooperation of the U.S. Marshalls Fugitive Task Force along with 31-year-old Bret Lott, also of Chippewa Falls, who was also wanted for arrest and who was also previously charged in a similar overdose death in Roseville, Minn. in 2019. Prior to the arrests, the Altoona Police Department and Roseville (Minn.) Police Department had worked together on the investigations.

Leith is being held in the Eau Claire County Jail on a $20,000 cash bond with a condition that she maintain absolute sobriety. Her next court appearance is May 17. Leith faces two felony bail jumping charges in addition to the homicide charge, according to online court records.

Leith also faces several charges in multiple 2019 cases in Dunn County, including two felony drug possession charges, and is due in court in August for one set of charges while being scheduled for a jury trial in October for one of the cases. Leith has previously been convicted on drug charges in Chippewa, Eau Claire and St. Croix counties.

Lott, who was arrested along with Leith, has previously been convicted of several drug charges in Eau Claire and St. Croix counties. He does not face charges in the Altoona death investigation.

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