Phony pills from the ‘dark net’ led to another fentanyl death in Lawrence, affidavit alleges; woman charged in boyfriend’s overdose

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

The Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center is pictured in March of 2022. The center houses the Douglas County District Court and other county services.

An arrest affidavit recently obtained by the Journal-World details how a Lawrence woman allegedly obtained black market pills that ended up killing her boyfriend.

The woman, Chloe Lyn Colby, 21, is charged with one count of distribution of a controlled substance causing death. The charge relates to an incident on April 17, 2021, when she is alleged to have provided counterfeit Oxycodone to her boyfriend, Kendall Royce Stiffler, 21, of Lawrence, who, after taking the drugs, died of fentanyl intoxication.

According to Stiffler’s autopsy report, recently obtained by the Journal-World, Stiffler was last seen by a woman in his apartment at midnight after he took an unknown number of pills on April 16, 2021; the next morning he was found without a pulse at 8 a.m. He was rushed to a local emergency room, where they attempted to revive him, but he was declared brain dead at 8:36 a.m.

Emergency room staff performed a urine analysis on Stiffler at the time, and he tested positive for methamphetamine, amphetamine and fentanyl. The medical examiner, Altaf Hossain, determined Stiffler died “due to complication of fentanyl intoxication with probable methamphetamine intoxication as a contributory factor,” according to the report.

Colby reportedly received the pills in the mail after ordering them on the “dark net,” according to the affidavit. She told police in an interview on April 30, 2021, that Stiffler had shown her how to access the “dark net” using a proxy program that hid her computer’s location identification.

At Colby and Stiffler’s shared apartment, police found more than 700 pills of Xanax and 12 Oxycodone, according to the affidavit. Police conducted a search on her and Stiffler’s cellphones and found messages that indicated Colby was responsible for ordering and paying for the pills. Chloe told police she ordered the pills using a Bitcoin account tied to her bank account and that she had ordered 25 Oxycodone pills, according to the affidavit.

A KBI analysis showed that both the Xanax and the Oxycodone were counterfeit. The Xanax pills actually contained Clonazolam and the Oxycodone contained fentanyl, according to the affidavit.

The Oxycodone pills allegedly arrived on April 14, when Colby messaged Stiffler “we got it,” and then she met him at work where he took photos of the pills that police found when they searched the phone, according to the affidavit.

The night that Stiffler overdosed, Colby told police that she saw Stiffler take three pills from the bag but she only saw him eat one of the counterfeit Oxycodone, according to the affidavit.

Months later while investigating another overdose death, police found a text message from a man to Colby in August of 2021 asking if she could still get “those bars,” to which Colby replied “nah, I don’t, I could possibly order more because I moved to another apartment but I’d have to get another laptop cops took mine” and the man then invited her over to use his computer to order the pills, according to the affidavit.

Colby was arrested on Oct. 7, 2021, on suspicion of distribution of a controlled substance causing death, distribution of a controlled substance and interference with law enforcement, but she was only formally charged with the distribution leading to death, according to court records.

Colby was released on a $250,000 own-recognizance bond on Oct. 12, 2021, and has been on GPS monitoring since her release, according to the Douglas County Jail booking log. She is scheduled for a jury trial on Oct. 31.

This is the second recent case in Douglas County in which someone has been charged in a fentanyl-related overdose. As the Journal-World recently reported, two men are facing charges in a drug case involving 23-year-old Angelyca Leann Cowdin, who died in April of acute fentanyl intoxication, according to an autopsy report. In that case, William Martin Byrd, 36, and Mason Duane Robinson, 26, both face one count of distribution of a controlled substance leading to death.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid — originally developed for pain management in cancer patients — that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine and that often results in overdose deaths when used illicitly, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. It is commonly added to other illegal drugs to increase their amounts and potency and to heighten addiction, and people often consume it unknowingly.

Lawrence police last year said they were seeing an increase in drug overdoses involving fentanyl.


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