By ROBERT CONNELLY
Jackie Bacher, birth mother of the slain Gina Burger, is recovering at St. Elizabeth Health Center after an apparent heroin overdose in her apartment.
Bacher was taken to the Youngstown hospital after the overdose Wednesday night. She was listed in critical condition early Thursday. But as of late Thursday, her condition improved and she was transferred to a room for patients not in need of intensive care.
According to a police report, a concerned neighbor called police about an unresponsive Bacher.
Authorities arrived at the apartment on the third floor of 987 Compass West at 7:51 p.m. Wednesday.
Bacher was found on a couch, going in and out of consciousness.
Lane EMS and Austintown Fire Department staff performed a medical evaluation and then Bacher was transported to St. Elizabeth by Lane.
Austintown Police Chief Robert Gavalier said there were no test results from the overdose case as of Thursday afternoon. “That’s why we’re not saying anything,” he said.
The report said, however, that authorities found three burnt spoons with suspected heroin residue on each and “several hypodermic needles” in the top drawer of a nightstand in one of the bedrooms. Also on top of that nightstand were torn bags, according to the report.
The report listed possible charges of misdemeanor possession of drugs and possessing drug-abuse instruments.
The neighbor told police two people “abuse drugs inside the apartment” and the neighbor “fears for” the safety of a 3-year-old living in the apartment, according to the report. Dog feces was found on the floor of the child’s bedroom.
Before authorities arrived, Ashley DiRenzo, 23, Bacher’s natural daughter, left the apartment with her 3-year-old boy, Jayden DiRenzo. The mother is also known as Ashley Stiles.
Randall Muth, executive director of the Mahoning County Children Services Board, said the agency received a report from Austintown police about DiRenzo and her son about 12:30 p.m. Thursday.
The agency, Muth said, found the two about 6 p.m. and are working with the family — who he described as being “very cooperative” — to “ensure the child is safe while their issues are resolved.”
He added, “We’ve achieved a good plan with the child,” but declined to discuss details because of confidentiality issues.
“We always try to engage a family voluntarily” because “the outcomes are more positive than going to court,” Muth said.
He explained that working with families and the resources through their organization are successful about 50 percent of the time. “The other half unfortunately need court intervention,” he said.
Gina Burger’s body was found June 25 in Tri-County Industries landfill in Grove City, Pa. Ricki D. Williams IV was arraigned Wednesday in Mahoning County Area Court on charges including aggravated murder and abuse of a corpse.
Authorities said she had been stabbed in the chest in a neighbor’s apartment and her body was dumped in a trash bin at Compass West on June 23.
The neighbor, who had been held captive, is a key witness.
The Vindicator obtained from police a list of calls to 987 Compass West since September 2012 that is eight pages long with 91 entries.
Within that document, there are incidents involving Williams and reports involving Burger, Bacher and DiRenzo.
Williams is mentioned in the breakdown of calls to the building two times: Jan. 24 for a domestic dispute call, and June 9 for an unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. The June 9 report said Williams would be warned off the property if seen at the apartment complex again. His return June 23 led to a misdemeanor criminal-trespass charge.
Bacher was listed only once in the breakdown of calls, for Wednesday night’s overdose, while DiRenzo was listed twice.
DiRenzo was listed on March 18 for an anonymous tip that she has “drugs going in and out of” the apartment and the second time for putting a hole in a wall on April 24.
The listing also has Gina Burger’s initial missing-person call on June 23 at 10:51 p.m.
Contributor: David Skolnick