In Wake of Oskaloosa Overdose Death, IDPH Reminds Public of Good Samaritan Laws

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OSKALOOSA, Iowa --Authorities made three arrests in connection to the death of a woman found in the South Skunk River. 

On August 20, police arrested 27-year-old Cody Vancenbrock, along with husband and wife, 28-year-old Nicholas Kelly and 34-year-old Holly Kelly.

The arrests are part of the investigation into the death of 24-year-old Ashley Shafer, who was found dead in the South Skunk River in Mahaska County on August 6.

Shafer was at the Kelly's apartment in Oskaloosa with the three suspects on August 5, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety. During the evening, Vancenbrock allegedly injected Shafer with methamphetamine, which caused her to overdose and die.

The Iowa Department of Public Health says that it might not have had to be this way.

Under the 2018 Good Samaritan law, those who witness an overdose and call 911 are protected from drug charges themselves. IDPH says that even if someone on scene has drugs or drug paraphernalia on them when first responders arrive would be protected.

"I think a lot of people are scared of prosecution and if they already have a record, that they're going to be arrested if they call 911 or if police show up. I think they're afraid that they'll suffer consequences; whereas with the Good Samaritan law they will not" said Janet Nelson, Community Health Consultant for IDPH.

The law does not protect those who are actively selling drugs.

For more information on the law you can go to http://www.yourlifeiowa.org

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