LENOIR COUNTY - A man has been charged with murder for the drug-related death of a Lenoir County teen more than two years ago.
According to the Lenoir County Sheriff's Office, a grand jury indicted 46-year-old Ralph Johnathan Winn Tuesday on charges of second-degree murder, possession with intent to sell and distribute a schedule ll substance, and selling / delivering a schedule ll substance.
Deputies said Winn, of Highway 58 near Kinston, sold Xanax and fentanyl to 16-year-old Kaitlyn Rouse on June 21, 2011. The teen was found unresponsive in a pool on Bonnie Walters Road, outside La Grange, just a few hours later, according to investigators.
Kaitlyn's mother, Shannon Ruiz said she can't believe it's more than two years since she's held her daughter.
"I am a mom who lost her child and it affects me every day and every morning I wake up without her," Ruiz said.
Rouse was taken to Lenoir Memorial Hospital before being transported to Vidant Medical Center. The teen died on June 23, 2011, two days after she was found unresponsive, the Sheriff's Office stated.
"If a person dies as a result of taking an illegal narcotic, the person who provided that narcotic also has consequences they have to deal with," Lenoir County Sheriff Chris Hill said.
Rouse's official cause of death was a toxic combination of Xanax and fentanyl, said investigators.
"We'll one of the most compelling things in this investigation that has come out is the fact that he did admit that he provided that substance to her," Sheriff Hill said.
Ruiz said she knows she can't bring her daughter back but hopes raising awareness could save another child's life.
"I don't wish no harm on him, and I still pray for that man, but I want him to remember my face and I want him to remember Kaitlyn," she said.
Winn was arrested at his home on Wednesday and was being held under a $450,000 secured bond.
"This is just the beginning. We have to move forward with trial and just pray that the jury finds him guilty and justice is served," Ruiz said.