A 33-year-old Eagle River man has been charged with first degree reckless homicide in a drug overdose-related death that occurred Aug. 14, 2020, in the city of Eagle River.

Jeremy LaPalm made his initial appearance May 17 in Vilas County Circuit Court in front of Judge Martha Milanowski.

According to the criminal complaint, LaPalm allegedly caused the death of “K.R.H.” by the delivery or manufacture of a schedule I or II controlled substance, heroin or fentanyl — a Class C felony.

If convicted, LaPalm could receive up to 40 years in prison, up to $100,000 in fines, or both.

The complaint states that at approximately 9:16 p.m. on Aug. 14, 2020, a call was placed to Vilas County Dispatch stating that an individual — subsequently identified as K.R.H. (1986) — had overdosed and was in need of emergency medical service (EMS) at a residence located within the 100 block of North Railroad Street.

Eagle River Police Department Officer Mark Collins was the first officer on scene. The report stated that Collins was let into an upstairs residence and found K.R.H. laying face down, unresponsive, on the floor in a bedroom of the residence.

Collins administered two doses of Narcan, which had no effect. EMS arrived and attempted to revive K.R.H., but he was pronounced dead at approximately 10:20 p.m.

Collins and Vilas County Sheriff’s Deputy Newman located a small baggie with a brown substance on the kitchen table of the residence, which was sent for DNA analysis and identification to the Wisconsin Crime Lab. The lab found the substance was heroin, and furthermore indicated “very strong support for inclusion” of LaPalm’s DNA on the baggie.

An autopsy and toxicology report were performed that indicated a positive presence of ethanol, heroin, and fentanyl in the blood of the decedent. It was the medical opinion of Forensic Pathologist Adam Covach the cause of death was a toxic mix of the three substances.

Between September, 2020, and April, 2022, four witnesses were questioned by law enforcement from Eagle River Police Department and Vilas County Sheriff’s Department regarding the happenings of the evening of Aug. 14, 2020. Their testimonies allege that LaPalm was at the scene of the death and was a source for the heroin.

LaPalm made his initial appearance last week by video, in custody from the Vilas County Jail. Attorney Stephen Donald Willett appeared by video for LaPalm, and Attorney Dennis Brown for the state of Wisconsin.

Cash bond was set at $50,000 with conditions, including LaPalm being fitted with a GPS unit, maintaining absolute sobriety, adhering to travel restrictions to Vilas, Oneida and Langlade counties for court purposes, and following a curfew of 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for June 22 at 10:30 a.m.