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Man indicted in Deerhake death

Alex Green • Jun 25, 2014 at 11:12 AM


An Ottawa County grand jury indicted a man Monday for allegedly supplying Chris Deerhake with opiates.

Ryan Clifton, 24, of Marblehead was indicted Friday. He's charged with one count each of trafficking drugs and possession of drugs.

Danbury Township police said the community was devastated by Deerhake's premature death following a party late last year.

Many people — including witnesses at the party, according to police — believed the drugs caused his death.

But Ottawa County Coroner Daniel Cadigan determined a toxicology report revealed only non-toxic levels of oxymorphone. Cadigan said cardiomyopathy — a weakening of the heart muscle — was the cause of Deerhake's death, not the narcotic.

Deerhake, 22, attended a Danbury Township party on Nov. 10 and died later that day.

"It affected not only a good family, it affected our peninsula and many people," Danbury Township police Chief Michael Meisler said Monday.

During the six months between Deerhake's death and the results of the toxicology report, Meisler repeatedly said he believed the supplier of the drugs should be charged.

Other indictments:

-James Nierman, 59, Williston, indicted on six counts of rape and six counts of sexual battery. He is charged with having sexual contact with an underage teen girl. The alleged rapes occurred between 1996 and 2001.

-Brittney Austin, 23, of the 13000 block Schiller Road, Oak Harbor, and Anthony Lanting, 28, of the same address, each indicted for one count of cultivation of marijuana, possession of drugs, possession of criminal tools, and possession of marijuana. A growing operation allegedly cultivated more than two pounds of marijuana.

-Harold Schmardebeck, 77, of Marblehead, indicted on two counts of drunken driving. He has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to at least five previous drunken driving incidents.

-Ryan Ross, 28, indicted on six counts of criminal non-support of dependents.

CORRECTION: Clifton was indicted last Friday, not arrested as reported.

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