Deputies: State rep.'s daughter engaged in 'extremely destructive and reckless behavior'

Shawn Gray, left, and Cassie Nygren (Photos source: Brown Co. Jail)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WLUK) -- The daughter of a state lawmaker who used her battle with addiction as inspiration for a series of anti-drug bills is behind bars.

Twenty-eight-year-old Cassie Nygren and her 33-year-old boyfriend Shawn Gray are accused in the death of 31-year-old Jennifer Skeen and her unborn child.

The sheriff's office said Skeen overdosed on fentanyl in June.

"Mr. Gray and Ms. Nygren engaged in a pattern of extremely reckless and destructive behavior," said Todd Delain, Brown County chief deputy.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office released details Thursday during a news conference on the arrests of Nygren and Gray.

Investigators described the two as boyfriend and girlfriend. Authorities are recommending several charges against each, including two counts of reckless homicide by delivering drugs.

The assistant district attorney said Nygren admitted to giving Skeen drugs.

"She made a statement to law enforcement she was aware Jennifer Skeen was pregnant at the time she was delivering these drugs to her," said Wendy Lemkuil.

And officials managed to link Nygren to Skeen.

"Based upon the narcotics investigators opinion, it appeared that there was a conversation Cassandra Nygren and Jennifer Skeen regarding meeting up on the alleged evening previous to the victim's death," Lemkuil said.

Gray did not admit to selling drugs to Skeen, but prosecutors say Nygren spoke to investigators about Gray.

"He was the one who provided heroin on that date," Lemkuil said.

Officials describe Nygren and Gray as users and dealers.

"The Brown County Drug Task Force was able to conduct a control buy of heroin from Mr. Gray and Ms. Nygren," Delain said.

And when deputies tried to arrest Gray and Nygren, officials say Gray drove off.

"Mr. Gray was driving with Ms. Nygren and her 14-month-old child in the vehicle when he fled from officers," Delain said.

"Ms. Nygren was a passenger and in fact, tried to pursuade the driver to stop and to not flee," Nygren's attorney said.

Even after the Skeen's death, court officials say Nygren continued to deal drugs.

"She was knowingly continuing to deliver a highly addictive and dangerous drug of heroin," Lemkuil said.

Nygren, 28, is the daughter of State Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette. Earlier this year, Gov. Scott Walker signed into law a series of bills championed by Rep. Nygren, aimed at combating heroin and opioid abuse.

The family has been open about Cassie Nygren's drug use. She was convicted of possession of narcotic drugs in 2015 and 2010.

A $50,000 cash bond was set for both Nygren and Gray in court Thursday. Nygren is due back in court next Thursday, with Gray set to appear the following day.

Formal charges in the case are not expected to be filed until next week.

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