Woman pleads not guilty in fatal overdose case

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BENNINGTON — A local woman has pleaded not guilty to being an accessory in a fatal Bennington drug overdose in January.

Rikki Vallee, 35, is charged with being an accessory to a fellow Bennington woman accused of providing Dawn Bossong, 51, with fentanyl that caused her death.

The other defendant in the case, Beth Brace, 50, earlier pleaded not guilty to selling or dispensing a regulated drug that resulted in death.

Authorities believe Vallee "made arrangements for Dawn Bossong to purchase drugs from Beth Brace," Det. Cpl. Christopher Lauzon of the Bennington Police Department said in a sworn statement filed in court.

A police search of Bossong's cellphone apparently showed she had been communicating with both Vallee and Brace shortly before she lost consciousness Jan. 29.

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Bossong lost consciousness while riding a friend's vehicle shortly after snorting one or two pills allegedly obtained from Brace, according to Lauzon's affidavit. She was taken to Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, then airlifted to Albany Medical Center (N.Y.) the following day when she didn't regain consciousness.

An autopsy conducted by the Albany County Coroner's Office found that Bossong died "due to the effects of fentanyl," the affidavit reads. Fentanyl, an opioid painkiller, is a regulated drug.

When investigators met with Vallee in March, Lauzon said she denied any involvement in Bossong's death.

Vallee's felony charge carries a potential prison sentence of two to 20 years. She entered a not guilty plea at the Bennington County Superior Court last Thursday, and is scheduled to return to court June 28. She is represented by defense attorney Kevin Rambold.

Vallee is free from jail on conditions that include not having any contact with Brace, who also remains free on a $20,000 bail.

Tiffany Tan can be reached at ttan@benningtonbanner.com, @tiffgtan at Twitter and 802-447-7567 ext. 122.


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