An Edina man is facing third-degree unintentional murder charges, accused of giving his mother a lethal dose of fentanyl.
Scott Alan Henkel, 62, was apprehended after a nationwide warrant for his arrest was issued June 25. Henkel has since posted bail for $100,000. He is set to return to court July 27.
The criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court provides the following account:
Edina Police and other first responders were dispatched to an Edina home on the 7600 block of Edinborough Way on or around Nov. 7, finding an 82-year-old woman lying in bed unresponsive without a pulse and not breathing. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Henkel, who was also at the scene, told police he was the son of the woman, identified in court documents as “C. L. H.”
Henkel told police he lived with his mother. He said she was recovering from surgery and had recently fallen down multiple times. Henkel provided police with a list of her medication information.
Henkel told police that the last time he had spoken to his mother was at 2 a.m. that morning, when he gave her an Aleve pain-reliever tablet. He said he checked on her while she slept.
He said he left the home in the morning to run an errand and tried to wake her once he returned. When he couldn’t wake her, Henkel called 911, he told police.
According to the complaint, investigators and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner decided to conduct an autopsy and toxicology testing of the woman after receiving certain information. Details on the nature of this information were not disclosed in the complaint.
The test results showed that the woman had “unexplained” fentanyl in her system totaling 2.5 ng/mL, which caused her death, the medical examiner concluded. Naproxen, the active ingredient in Aleve, was not found in her system despite its presence being expected given the timeline provided by Henkel, police noted.
The complaint states that medical and prescription history for the woman showed no legitimate source for the fentanyl, causing officers to obtain and execute a search warrant of Henkel’s home.
During that search, officers found a large number of different types of controlled substances, including methamphetamine, marijuana, psilocybin mushrooms. suspected THC edibles, suspected THC “wax,” suspected THC cartridges and cocaine.
Officers also found a loaded .357 magnum handgun and two speed loaders with ammunition.
Due to a second-degree possession of controlled substance conviction in 2000, Henkel is barred from owning firearms.
Henkel told police that neither he nor his mother ever had visitors and that she never left the house unless he was taking her to an appointment. He denied giving her any pain medication other than Aleve, adding that he was unaware of how she could have ingested fentanyl.
Henkel admitted to possessing the recovered controlled substances and sharing the drugs among his friends, but denied selling them.
As part of the investigation, Henkel’s cellphone was also searched. Authorities determined he was using Signal, a type of messaging app that is supposed to provide greater security and privacy than other types of communication. Henkel sent the following message to a contact on Oct. 24, 2020: “Heya, any luck on the oxi? Mom’s in pain.”
The term “oxi” is commonly used to refer to the oxycodone, a prescription opiate painkiller, the complaint stated.
It added that it is “increasingly common” for illegal pills that appear like prescription opiate painkillers to actually contain fentanyl instead of the usual ingredient in painkillers.
The third-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
The criminal complaint outlines other counts Henkel is facing: felony possession of a firearm, first-degree sale of drugs, second-degree sale of drugs, second-degree possession of drugs and third-degree possession of drugs.
– Follow Caitlin Anderson on Twitter @EdinaSunCurrent