FOX 29 Investigates: Family's Questions About Daughter's Heroin Death

The parents of a local woman, who lost her life to heroin, want investigators to take another look at their daughter's passing.

Amanda Carter's life was over much too soon and, as FOX 29'sJeff Cole reports, her family has serious questions as they continue to live in a nightmare.

Dawn and Jim Carter live with the kind of searing pain only parents know - pain that entered their lives early on a February morning.

"I open up the door, and there's three policemen there," Dawn Carter said. "They ask to come in, and they asked me to sit down. And they say, 'I'm sorry to inform you that your daughter, Amanda Carter, has passed away this morning.'"

Mandy, as she was known, was 27 years old when she died. Her body was found in her third-floor Bustleton Avenue apartment, where her clothes were laid out for the next day's work.

Jim Carter called his daughter a "smart kid, bright kid, energetic kid."

She had a degree in biomedical engineering from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and was working at an area pharmaceutical firm.

"It was a shock, I mean, a shock because she was doing so well for the last like six years," Dawn Carter said.
What killed Mandy Carter? According to the medical examiner, it was drug Intoxication. The drug in this case? Heroin.

Lt. Dennis Rosenbaum's Northeast Detectives investigated the death.

"The Medical Examiner's Office said it was an overdose, which is not uncommon in Philadelphia. And, unfortunately, we see a great deal of them," he said.

Carter's parents admit their daughter was drug-addicted several years ago, the result of narcotics taken for an injury and being bipolar. But they believed she had kicked her habit in rehab and showed every sign of staying clean. They want to know much more about the man she was with that night.

We recorded video of him arriving at the Philadelphia home where he's living. We're not naming or showing him because police have not charged him with anything.

The 33-year-old has a troubled past. According to court records, he pleaded guilty in 2009 to criminal charges, including DUI and causing a serious accident while "not properly licensed."

He served time, and Montgomery County Adult Probation says he's under supervision until 2017.

Duane Little, a private investigator who is probing Mandy Carter's death for her parents, said, "I think she may have made a bad decision the night that she entertained a young gentleman in her apartment."

According to investigative records, the man not only admitted to using heroin with Carter, he told investigators he tossed the evidence.

The police incident report reveals he stayed with Carter that night and "they both used heroin at 9:30 p.m."

He said: "at 5:30 A.M. he went back into (the) bedroom and could not wake her up he called 9-1-1 at 5:53 a.m."

That's 23 minutes later.

She was pronounced dead at 6:10 a.m.

The man told the medical examiner he and Carter "used heroin and had sex" and "admits he flushed the heroin packets down the toilet" and "discarded the syringes."

He was not arrested for heroin use.

Lt. Rosenbaum says just too many people use: "Unfortunately, in this day and age, when a lot of people are using drugs, you know, arresting them is not an option."

Nor was he locked up for destroying the packets and syringes.

"He took the packets and the syringe and flushed them down the toilet. Is that a criminal offense?" Cole asked.

"No, not really. I mean, he says he does it before he finds her deceased," Rosenbaum said. "If he had did it after, it might be, you know, an issue."

The M.E.'s report makes no mention of when the man tossed the material.

The man refused our repeated requests for an interview. In a text, he wrote, "I respectfully request that you do not contact me anymore."

The Carters believe police failed their daughter.

"In my opinion, the police actually did nothing," Jim Carter said. "It's another drug addict. We're gonna rubber-stamp it and be on our way."

Cole asked, "You think the cops walked in, saw your daughter's dead body and said, 'This is a heroin addict, she overdosed. It's done?'"

"It's done, absolutely," Jim Carter said.

Rosenbaum argues the cops took a hard look.

"We did send a detective, and a very capable one at that. And he investigated it and, along with the M.E., they determined that it was a heroin overdose."

Jim Carter says he found a man's jacket in his daughter's closet days after she died. It had parts of a syringe in the pocket.

"It was not my daughter's, and it was a man's jacket. The police never looked," he said.

Rosenbaum says police were not aware of it.

The 33-year-told the private investigator it wasn't his.

And the parents don't believe their daughter could have injected herself in her left arm, where the M.E. found needle marks when Carter was left-arm-dominant.

The private Investigator, Little, said, "It doesn't add up, that the young lady, if she did the heroin in fact, injected herself in her dominant hand not only once but twice."

A spokesperson for the M.E. said this had no impact on the case but added that if a crime is suspected it should be reported to the police.

Police, however, have closed the case, and the M.E. found "No apparent evidence of foul play."

And there's one more thing. Remember, Montgomery County Adult Probation says the man in the apartment with Carter is on supervision for another two years. He's being supervised out of the Philadelphia office.

Montgomery County told FOX 29 Investigates it has no record of being notified that he had admitted to using heroin with Mandy Carter in February - a possible violation of his supervision that could send him back to jail.

Rosenbaum says he doesn't know if his detective notified adult probation but says the agent supervising the man should have been able to detect drug use in random urine tests.

Jim Carter had this response: "If … Philadelphia police had taken two minutes to run his information, I would assume that he'd be in violation of his probation for being in an area where there were drugs."

Dawn Carter added, "I want a case to be opened to look into this, you know, and to look at all the facts and all the discrepancies."

Private Facebook posts between Mandy Carter and that man appear to show them using heroin several years ago. Carter writes that she stopped breathing. He responds that he watched her through the night. Her family says that was before rehab, Cole reported.