Golden Valley Woman Charged with Murder in Overdose Death

Sarah Doppler Photo: Hennepin County
Sarah Doppler

December 27, 2017 12:09 PM

A Golden Valley woman who is alleged to have sold the drugs that led to a Minnetonka man's July overdose death has been charged with third-degree murder.

Sarah Doppler, 28, is alleged to have sold pills with a combination of fentanyl and U-47700 to the man on July 19. He was found not breathing at a home on the 14000 block of Brandbury Walk in Minnetonka later that evening.


RELATED: Inside the DEA: A Chemist's Quest to Identify Mystery Drugs

According to the criminal charges, the victim's best friend and coworker told investigators the victim had mentioned earlier in the day he was on his way to buy what he believed to be Percocet from Doppler, who the friend knew had sold narcotic pills on the black market.

The victim told his friend he had purchased eight "E8" pills from Doppler. Text messages beginning July 15 recovered from the victim's phone indicate Doppler was selling what the victim believed to be Percocet or some other narcotic in pill form, the charges say. 

He requested 10 pills from Doppler on July 19 and agreed to go to her house to purchase them, the charges show. Location data from his phone show he was in the vicinity of Doppler's Golden Valley home at the same time he had agreed to make the purchase.

The victim had eaten dinner with his family the night of his death, according to the complaint. He had gone alone to his basement afterward, where he was found unresponsive sitting in front of his computer. Responding officers and paramedics attempted lifesaving measures, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Seven tablets inscribed with "E8" were found nearby, and drug paraphernalia was found in the basement living area and bathroom. 

RELATED: Another Powerful Painkiller Found in Prince's System: U-47700

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office found the man died from a mix of two synthetic opioids: furanyl fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance, and U-47700, a Schedule I controlled substance. 

The complaint states the remaining pills found in the victim's basement were taken to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, where a pill was analyzed and found to contain the same two opioids. 

U-47700 was found in the same chemical cocktail that led to Prince's death in April 2016. Pharmacology experts have said the pill often looks like a legitimate painkiller, but can be eight times stronger than morphine. It can also be resistant to the lifesaving antidote Narcan. 

Doppler remains in custody. She faces up to 25 years in prison and/or a $40,000 fine.


Michael Oakes

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