Federal Charges Possible After Pregnant Woman Died of Suspected Overdose

CHARLESTON, W. VA. (WSAZ) -- Charleston police say it's a scene becoming far too common: people overdosing on drugs.

"West Virginia is actually number one per capita in the nation for overdoses," Lt. Steve Cooper said.

For the first time in Cooper's 23 year career, one of the most recent victims of an overdose in Charleston was a mother and her unborn baby.

"It's not something we see very often. It's more sad than most cases," Cooper said.

Police say on Wednesday they discovered 26-year-old Jennifer Rodgers and her six-month-old-baby dead from a suspected drug overdose inside a home in the 400 block of South Ruffner Street.

Now police are looking for who dealt Rodgers the lethal drug. Cooper says if police find the drug dealer, he or she could be charged with murder and face at least 20 years in prison.

"It could be a federal case. We are investigating it, and the U.S. Attorney's office is interested in these cases," Cooper said.

He says because this is such a unique case, police are working with the prosecutor's office to determine if who is responsible will be charged with one or two murders -- since Rodgers was pregnant.

"Yes, it is a choice to use drugs. It is a choice to use drugs to the extent that you get addicted, but the dealer is still the parasite. The dealer is still the one who is destroying the community. Doing it for financial gain and without remorse." Cooper said.

But Cooper says there will be no remorse for drug dealers once they are caught. He says the Charleston Police Department is currently working on several drug overdose cases to get drug dealers off the street.

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