2 arrested in inmate’s drug death

Debin Gabbard
Mary Snyder
Mary Snyder

Two Columbus women have been arrested in the October death of a Bartholomew County Jail inmate, according to police.

An Indiana State Police death investigation began Oct. 7, 2017 when an inmate — Angela Blair, 42, of Elizabethtown — died while in custody at the jail of methamphetamine intoxication.

The state police investigation determined that Debin Paige Gabbard, 27, of Columbus, smuggled methamphetamine into the jail when she was arrested on Oct. 5, 2017, state police spokesman Sgt. Stephen Wheeles said.

Investigators believe Gabbard gave the drugs to Mary L. Snyder, 19, of Columbus, who then provided methamphetamine to Blair while they were housed together in the jail. Blair collapsed and died soon after obtaining the methamphetamine from Snyder, State Police Detective Christopher Howell said.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the case was presented to the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office and warrants were issued Thursday for both Gabbard and Snyder, Wheeles said. Gabbard still was incarcerated at the Bartholomew County Jail while Snyder had been transferred to Rockville Correctional Facility, where she is serving time on an unrelated charge, Wheeles said.

Gabbard was arrested on charges of dealing methamphetamine and trafficking with an inmate, both level 5 felonies; and possession of a narcotic drug and possession of methamphetamine, both level 6 felonies. Snyder was charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine, a level 6 felony.

On the night of Oct. 8, Blair collapsed just after jail staff arrived at her cell to give her medical attention, Wheeles said.

Although emergency treatment was provided and an ambulance summoned, attempts to revive the unresponsive Blair were unsuccessful, he said.

Blair had been serving a sentence for a probation violation on drug-related charges.

Snyder and Gabbard will remain incarcerated, pending their initial court appearances in Bartholomew County, Wheeles said.

The Indiana State Police was assisted by the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department, Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office and the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office.

Angela L. Blair
Angela L. Blair