Moorhead Widow Wants Murder Charges Filed in 2015 WE Fest Death
One of the biggest country music festivals in the US is just a few weeks away from kicking off in Detroit Lakes.
But with WE Fest comes a sad anniversary for a Moorhead widow whose husband was discovered dead there last year.
Troy Lee was working security at the festival when he was found dead in his trailer at the campsite there last August.
Authorities first told Bonnie Lee they thought it was natural causes, but weeks later an autopsy showed he died of a prescription drug overdose for a prescription Troy didn’t have.
And she says prosecutors are dropping the ball on bringing down Troy’s murderer.
Mid-divorce, and drowning in paperwork, Bonnie Lee used to think she couldn’t handle one more piece of paper.
Then her husband Troy sent her a love letter…and a plea to save their marriage.
It would prove to be one of the last exchanges the couple had.
Sheriff’s deputies found Troy dead in his bed where he’d been working security at WE Fest.
“I just started writing things down, I thought, something is funny,” said Bonnie. “I’m going to really look into this. I’m going to find out what happened. And that’s what I’ve been doing the last eight months of my life.”
Lee got her hands on the investigator’s reports surrounding her husband’s death, including a list of witnesses with him the night he died.
The coroner found Troy had many kinds of drugs in his system, some prescribed, most not, including hydrocodone and eight to 10 pills worth of methadone…the prescription opioid that killed Troy.
“Some of the individuals cooperated in the beginning with law enforcement, some of them have since basically cut off any contact and have not wanted to cooperate at all with the investigation,” said Becker County Prosecutor Tammy Merkins.
“Everyone who has read it has just…their mouths have dropped. They can’t believe she has not been arrested,” said Bonnie in regards to the person she believes is responsible for her husband’s death.
The reports say at least one witness admits leaving two methadone pills out on the trailer table for Troy that night.
In spite of that, almost a year later, no one has been criminally charged with his death.
“I know that this is really, really hard for her,” says Merkins.
It’s quiet here now, but in just a few months this town is going to swell by about 30,000 to 50,000 more WE Fest concertgoers. And that’s one of the snags with this case, prosecutors say. There’s just no way to know out of all those people, which of them might have given Troy Lee the drugs that killed him.
“We at this point didn’t have any evidence to prove where all of those drugs came from,” said Merkins. “Whether or not it came from someone that the person knew, or whether or not he got some of them from somebody he knew or some place else. We can’t link those drugs to anyone.”
Prosecutors say all the pills in Troy’s system can’t be accounted for from one dealer.
And because that dealer claims giving him methadone was an accident, prosecutors say they don’t have a case, especially since Troy may have helped himself to the drugs.
“Drug deals, drug transactions, the drug world…people are not necessarily going to be very forthcoming and want to provide information because they don’t want to talk about obviously what they’re doing because they’re either fearful of the other people involved in it or they’re fearful of themselves getting in trouble,” Merkins explains.
Bonnie admits Troy suffered from a meth addiction problem a decade ago.
But whether he relapsed or not, she says, is not the question.
“I don’t know. Was he taking them? Was this his first time? What? I don’t know. He’s not here for me to ask,” said Bonnie. Her family, she says, supports her fight for justice. “They tell me to keep going.”
But for now, the case is closed
“Well, at first they wanted me to stop. I said I’m not going to stop. I said I’m not going to let her walk away after what she did.”
Hoping hidden somewhere in here…in what’s left of her marriage, and her man, is something that gives her the answers she needs.
Lee’s death came several months before national and regional attention focused on what we now know is an epidemic of prescription opiate and heroin overdoses nationwide.
Lee is hoping our new awareness brings forward some witnesses who can help bring justice to her husband’s death.