A mother’s journey for justice reaches final step: thanking Roseville detectives
Michelle Werlein walked into Roseville Police headquarters Thursday morning carrying a special plaque.
She had it made to thank the detectives who worked on her daughter Zhennavie Bauman’s case.
“I felt I just wanted to do something to remind them, and just show them we are grateful for everything they’ve done,” Werlein said.
Back in November 2019, Zhennavie, 27, was found dead from a drug overdose inside a Roseville motel room. The entire room had been cleaned out, personal items, furnishings, even the towels.
Police credit Werlein with helping to track down the drug dealer connected to her daughter’s overdose death by locating his address, which led to an arrest in 2022.
“My daughter’s death was life-altering, this whole experience has been as well, so I really wanted to give this to you guys to just say, ‘thank you,'” Werlein said while handing detectives the plaque with Zhennavie’s picture.
Bret Lott was convicted earlier this year by a Ramsey County jury of third-degree murder for selling Zhennavie $9 worth of drugs containing fentanyl. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
Werlein was surprised at the police station by getting to meet the now-retired detective, Jesse Lowther. He’s one of the detectives with whom she had only heard his voice over the phone while the case progressed over the years.
“I hope it brings you closure, for you guys, and it’s good to see the right thing happen,” Lowther said.
The day Zhennavie’s body was found alone in the motel room, Lt. Jennifer Engh made the difficult call to Werlein.
“It’s hard to say it’s a win because we don’t have her back,” Engh said. “Hopefully it closes a little bit of that void.”
In the years since she lost her daughter, Werlein worked to get justice for Zhennavie with the help of these detectives.
“I’d think she’d be incredibly proud that we kept pushing forward,” Werlein said. “I’d think she’d be incredibly touched by all of it, really.”
Werlein recently started a petition drive to urge lawmakers to increase penalties for fentanyl-related crimes.