By Gregg Jones
Missourian Staff Writer
A Villa Ridge murder suspect is on the lam after being released from a drug treatment program.
Vincent J. Bandermann, 21, was released on furlough to enter into a drug treatment facility July 6 by Presiding Circuit Judge Gael D. Wood, according to court records.
He was in custody at the Franklin County Jail on felony charges of second-degree murder and drug distribution in connection to a fatal drug overdose late last year.
A warrant was issued for his arrest Aug. 1 when he did not report back to the jail following completion of the program.
Bandermann, along with Matthew A. Danter, 26, were charged in the death of Joseph Garrett, 25, Pacific. Danter is being held in the Franklin County Jail on a $100,000 bond. He also faces a felony charge of possession of a controlled substance.
The charges stem from overdoses that occurred over the Christmas 2016 weekend.
In addition to the fatal overdose, two other people, including Bandermann, overdosed on heroin purchased over the weekend from a dealer allegedly in the Fenton area, authorities said.
Those two overdose victims recovered. All three overdoses occurred between Sunday night, Dec. 25, and early Monday, Dec. 26, at a home on Madison Court, off Rock Bridge Road, at Villa Ridge.
On Christmas night, Bandermann allegedly stole money from another person at a different residence. Authorities are continuing to investigate that theft incident.
After that, Bandermann, Garrett and Danter allegedly drove to St. Louis County and purchased $200 worth of heroin, according to investigators.
They returned to the Madison Court home where they allegedly used the heroin and fell asleep.
Garrett apparently got up and used some more heroin, overdosed and apparently died, authorities said.
When the others discovered him they put him into a car and began driving to the hospital when they encountered an ambulance. They flagged down the ambulance driver, then handed off Garrett before leaving, according to the report.
The ambulance driver then called the sheriff’s office and deputies were dispatched to the house. They then called in the narcotics team to investigate the case.
Investigators searched the home and found a syringe and 21 capsules containing heroin, authorities said.