Woman in stolen clothes case not drugged

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A 28-year-old Steamboat Springs woman who told police she thought someone slipped a date-rape drug into her drink the night before she found stolen clothing in her house was not drugged, police said Friday.

"The test results came back totally negative," said Detective Bob DelValle of the Steamboat Springs Police Department. "There was no indication of any kind of narcotic drug in her system."

The woman walked into the Steamboat police department about noon March 7 with an armful of clothing that did not belong to her. The sale tags were intact and indicated the clothing came from Kali's Boutique, a shop on Lincoln Avenue that reported a burglary earlier that morning.

The woman did not know why the clothes were in her possession and told police she thought she had been drugged at a local bar.

Her story coincided with similar stories of possible druggings reported over a three-week span.

She was the first possible victim to report for testing within the short period of time Rohypnol, Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate (GHB) and Ketamine -- well-known date-rape drugs -- remain in a person's system. She was tested early enough for results to accurately indicate the presence of any drugs in her system, DelValle said.

GHB metabolizes through the system in eight to 12 hours after ingestion and Rohypnol leaves the body within 24 to 48 hours.

Preliminary tests indicated the woman was not sexually assaulted, and fluid tests were sent to the Colorado Department of Health for analysis. Police had been waiting for feedback from the tests to determine where to take their investigation; they received the negative results Friday.

Detectives were viewing the woman as a possible victim and investigating a potential link between her story and the burglary at Kali's Boutique.

"At this point, we will evaluate what we have and decide whether any kind of criminal charges are appropriate," DelValle said.

DelValle said he would have more information next week about the direction detectives intend to take.

Police already have identified and interviewed a male suspect in the burglary.

The woman told police a man she did not know bought her a drink at a local restaurant on the evening of March 6. Not long after she took the drink she said she became confused and her vision clouded.

She told police she decided to walk home because her home was a short distance from the restaurant, but she didn't know was happened after that.

The woman remembered rummaging through some clothing on a rack and thought a man was with her, but she didn't know where she was, according to police reports.

She said she woke up the morning after the suspected drugging and the burglary wearing a shirt that was not hers and missing certain articles of clothing she had worn the previous night. Clothing she had never seen before was in her room.

Employees of Kali's Boutique reported the break-in when they arrived at work to find deadbolts on both the shop's front and back doors unlocked, some clothing strewn on the floor and other clothing and $20 from the cash register missing. Vomit was visible inside and outside the business. The suspect or suspects appeared to try on the clothing, take what they liked and leave what they didn't like on the floor. The thieves also left some personal belongings behind.

There were no signs of forced entry. The deadbolts were opened either by someone involved in the burglary or one may have been inadvertently left unlocked by a store employee the evening before.

The owner of the shop told police she thought both of the doors had been locked.

Police were concerned at the time of the incident that someone had been slipping date-rape drugs into drinks at local bars and restaurants and encouraged people to not leave beverages unattended or accept drinks from strangers.

Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine have all been reported in the community before. Rohypnol pills, commonly referred to as "Roofies," are a pharmaceutical drug produced in Mexico and Europe for sleeping disorders. Rohypnol is illegal in the United States. GHB, which also is known as "Liquid Ecstasy," is odorless and colorless. Veterinarians and doctors legally use Ketamine, a popular drug at "raves" and parties.

-- To reach Danie Harrelson call 871-4203 or e-mail dharrelson@steamboatpilot.com

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