Victim’s mother plays role in helping find suspect charged in daughter’s death
A St. Paul man faced a Ramsey County judge on Monday morning on a third-degree murder charge stemming from the death of a Burnsville woman in late 2019.
Last week, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office charged 31-year-old Bret R. Lott of St. Paul with the death of a 27-year-old Burnsville woman after allegedly selling her opioids.
“For someone to carelessly treat her life like nothing, walk out and leave her there, that was incredibly devastating,” said Michelle Werlein, mother of Zhennavie Isabo Bauman.
Werlein said her daughter died of a drug overdose inside a Roseville motel room.
When Bauman didn’t return home that night in November 2019, her family became concerned.
Bauman’s mother said her daughter experienced mental health struggles during her life.
“She always comes home. When I checked her bed, and she wasn’t home, I knew something was wrong,” Werlein said.
Investigators said the motel room had been cleared of all personal items and moveable furnishings: the towels were gone and the garbage removed where the victim was found.
Court charges indicate that Lott called his mother and told her the victim “… had only spent $9.00 on the drugs and there was no way a person could die from that small amount.” The complaint went on to note, “Lott told his mother he was afraid of contacting the police because he and the woman had been doing drugs together and he had warrants for his arrest.”
“It’s actually surreal. It’s gone on for so long,” Werlein said about the wait for the suspect to appear in court. “I had to be incredibly, incredibly patient throughout this whole process. Initially, I was consumed with finding him.”
Over time, the victim’s mother told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS she learned of Lott’s name and recently learned of his location.
“As I found out, I hung up and called the detective in charge of the case —this is the address — this is where he’s living,” Werlein said. Police confirmed her assistance which led to the suspect’s arrest on April 28th.
Court papers indicate that two firearms and suspected fentanyl were recovered from the location where Lott was arrested.
“For her, I couldn’t give up,” Werlein said.
In court Monday, a judge told Lott he would be appointed a public defender while setting his bond at $1 million.
Court records indicate the next hearing is scheduled for May 27.