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New documents detail how drugs entered El Paso County jail leading to overdose death

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Colorado Springs Police Department’s two-month investigation named at least six inmates potentially tied to Renee Lowrance’s fentanyl overdose death inside the El Paso County jail.

According to the arrest affidavit, the primary suspect is Katariina Gibson. The day before Lowrance’s death, Gibson was booked into the El Paso County jail. During the intake process, photos in the police records show Gibson moving drugs on her body so jail staff couldn’t find them during multiple searches.

Gibson had previously attempted to sneak drugs within the jail during prior arrests, including a syringe with methamphetamine. She was caught in the past, but this time she avoided detection.

Gibson was placed in the cell next to Lowrance.

Lowrance’s cellmate Rhianna Moret tried to sneak drugs in during her intake but failed. Once inside, Gibson asked Moret if she knew anyone who did drugs, according to Moret’s interview with detectives referenced in the arrest affidavit. Gibson said she didn’t get caught bringing drugs into the jail.

Moret agreed to let Gibson use her phone pin to help Lowrance “pay” for the pills. During the day Lowrance died, surveillance video shows Lowrance, Gibson and Moret meeting multiple times.

According to the police documents, Moret is seen putting in her phone password before handing it to Gibson to make calls. At least twice during a three-hour timeframe, Gibson physically hands something to Lowrance.

At one point, Letetia Stauch, the woman accused of killing her step son, brings a brown paper bag from her cell and sets it on a table in the common area. About 20 minutes later, another inmate picks it up and hands it to Lowrance.

According to the arrest affidavit, the police department doesn’t think contraband was in the bag because “they would have been more protective or secretive with it. They did not seem concerned when the ward deputies walked near it.”

Comments made during Gibson’s phone calls and to other inmates pin her as the primary suspect, according to the arrest affidavit.

Most of Gibson’s calls are with Darwin Van Raalte, who police believe she was in a romantic relationship with. On one call with Raalte, she said she could get more phone time by making “trades.” She also told him on another call, “I may or may not have had candy when I got here, but you know I s-, probably get rid of it because I need to sober up, you know?”

Moret, Lowrance’s cellmate, said she was there when Lowrance took the drug. She said Lowrance laid down to take a nap and never woke up.

After Lowrance died, Gibson told Moret to “keep her mouth shut.”

Six days after Lowrance died, Gibson was released to a representative for a sober-living facility. She was scheduled for a review hearing for Jan. 31 but never showed up. On Mar. 3, Gibson was arrested and booked back into the El Paso County jail on a $100,000 bond.

It is the first time in El Paso County jail history that a previous inmate was charged with Proximate Cause of Death by Unlawful Distribution (Drug Felony 1) and Introducing Contraband in the 2nd Degree (Felony 6).

Gibson is scheduled for a preliminary hearing next month.

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Quinn Ritzdorf

Quinn is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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