Cassandra M. Staab

By Shereen Siewert

WAUSAU — A 27-year-old Marshfield woman is facing reckless homicide charges in connection with the January overdose death of a Spencer man.

Charges were filed Thursday in Marathon County Circuit Court against Cassandra Staab, who police say was the supplier who sold the fentanyl-laced heroin that caused 22-year-old Thomas Bychinski’s death. Heroin laced with fentanyl is particularly deadly, police say, and has made its way into Marathon County over the past year.

On Jan. 31, police were called to a home on Hansen Road in Spencer after two people found Bychinski’s body, according to the police report. During the investigation, police learned Staab was Bychinski’s regular source for heroin, the report stated.

One witness told police he had been buying heroin from Staab for about a month before Bychinski’s death and that Staab told the witness the heroin was “very potent, powerful stuff,” according to the criminal complaint.

The emergence of fentanyl-laced heroin in Marathon County in June 2016 prompted police to issue a warning to residents about the danger surrounding the drug. At that time, a highly potent strain had been circulating the area that was blamed for at least one death and eight other heroin overdoses in a 10-day span.

Fentanyl is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin, making the combination especially deadly, police said.

Staab, who is in the Wood County Jail on unrelated charges, faces up to 40 years in prison if she is convicted on the first-degree reckless homicide charge. A date for an initial appearance has not yet been set.