Four people from the Lehigh Valley including the brother of the woman who died are charged in connection with the suspected fatal overdose of a Quakertown woman earlier this month, the Bucks County District Attorney’s office announced Thursday.
The DA identified Paul P. Barr II, 34, of Bethlehem, as the brother of Heather Barr, 37, who was found dead in her home in the 200 block of East Broad Street May 2.
Also charged in connection with Heather Barr’s death are Michael James Breeland, 52, of Allentown; William G. White Jr., 46, of Allentown; and Cassandra Hope Mendelsohn, 30, of Bangor.
The district attorney’s office said an investigation by the Bucks County Drug Strike Force and the Quakertown Police Department began with the discovery of eight plastic baggies stamped “Pink Panther” as well as a rolled dollar bill in the room in which Barr died.
According to a news release published on the district attorney’s Crimewatch site, the baggies contained a mixture of cocaine and fentanyl, and “a few empty bags bearing the same (‘Pink Panther’) stamp (were) coated with residue of the same drug cocktail.”
The DA said a final determination as to Barr’s cause of death is still pending the full results of an autopsy that was performed, however preliminary results highlighted in a criminal complaint indicated the presence of fentanyl, amphetamine, methamphetamine and benzodiazepine in her body at the time of her death.
“Through investigation, detectives learned Paul Barr provided the drugs labeled ‘Pink Panther’ to his sister in the hours just prior to her death,” the news release said. “It was determined Barr and Mendelsohn drove to Allentown and purchased the drugs from Breeland.”
Police said the day after his sister’s death, Barr allegedly again purchased drugs from Breeland which again came packaged in bags labeled “Pink Panther.”
According to a criminal complaint cited by the DA in the news release, Barr said those drugs “knocked him on his ass” and nearly killed a woman with whom he shared them, who overdosed on them but survived.
While investigating Breeland, the DA’s office said detectives conducted three controlled purchases of suspected heroin; purchases which were arranged with Breeland by phone.
“White then acted as a ‘runner’ for the transactions, physically delivering the drugs in exchange for cash,” the DA’s news release said.
All four defendants are currently behind bars, and per the district attorney’s office and court records:
- Breeland five counts of delivery of a controlled substance, five counts of conspiracy to deliver and related offenses including criminal use of a communications facility. He is being held at the Bucks County Correctional Facility in lieu of bail set by District Judge Lisa J. Gaier at 10 percent of $750,000.
- Barr is charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance, conspiracy and related counts. He was arraigned by District Judge Jean Seaman and held for lack of bail, which was set at 10 percent of $175,000.
- Mendelsohn is charged with one count of delivery of a controlled substance and conspiracy. She was sent to county prison, with her bail set by Gaier at 10 percent of $100,000.
- White, who as of Thursday had not yet been arraigned on the charges, is awaiting extradition from Lehigh County where he is jailed. He is charged with three counts of delivery of a controlled substance, conspiracy counts and other charges.
Mendolsohn and Barr are also charged with hindering apprehension for allegedly tampering with Heather Barr’s cell phone in an attempt to destroy evidence, the DA said.
This case was investigated by the Bucks County Detectives Drug Strike Force and Quakertown Borough Police Department, who were assisted by the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigations, the Allentown Police Department and the Bethlehem Police Department.
Deputy District Attorney Thomas C. Gannon is assigned to prosecute the cases.
Note: Individuals charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty. This story was compiled using information from police and public court documents.