Rep. Nygren offers condolences after daughter arrested in drug death
BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -
The daughter of Marinette Rep. John Nygren has been booked on multiple charges, including two counts of 1st Degree Reckless Homicide, according to Brown County jail records released Wednesday.
Jail records show Cassandra Leigh Nygren, 28, is expected to make an initial appearance on two counts of Reckless Homicide/Deliver Drugs; Manufacture/Deliver Heroin; Neglecting a Child; and Maintain a Drug Trafficking Place.
No formal charges have been filed in the case.
The Brown County Sheriff's Office will hold a news conference Thursday at 10 a.m. to provide details of the arrest.
A man identified as Shawn M. Gray was also booked on charges of reckless homicide and drug charges in this case. Gray was also arrested for Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registry, Providing False Information to Sex Offender Registry, Resisting an Officer, and Bail Jumping, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Nygren's Facebook states that she is engaged to Gray.
Cassandra Nygren has had a public battle with heroin abuse. It inspired her father, Republican state lawmaker John Nygren, to pass bills focused on heroin and opioid addiction in Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker has signed several bills in the HOPE (Heroin, Opioid, Prevention and Education) Agenda into law.
Rep. Nygren released this statement regarding his daughter's arrest:
“First and most importantly, I offer my sincere and heartfelt condolences for the loss of life. There are no words that we as a family can offer to give any real comfort for the tragic loss.
"To the family and friends of the victims of this tragedy, please know that you are in our prayers and that our hearts are heavy.
“Cassie has publicly struggled with addiction and recovery for several years. This is a strong reminder of how fragile the road to recovery is. We will continue to support and pray for her recovery.
“This is just another example, in a seemingly endless line, of the disastrous and destructive consequences addiction continues to have on families and communities nationwide. These stories are the motivating factor behind all our work in the legislature to fight this epidemic.
“In this time of extreme sadness and sorrow, I request that privacy and respect be extended to those grieving from their loss.”
In 2010, Nygren was convicted of narcotics possession and sentenced to state prison.
Our Green Bay affiliate WBAY-TV spoke to Cassandra Nygren in 2013. She told us, "I was raised right, given morals to not do things that I've done so every time I come back here to try it again, I can't bear it. It's like a label I'm never going to be able to shake so I turn back to the drugs."
In June 2014, Nygren was released from prison and became an advocate for recovery.
In 2015, Nygren pleaded guilty to a charge of narcotics possession and was accepted into the Brown County Drug Court. Nygren did not graduate from the program and was sent to jail in 2016 after her probation was revoked.
Cassandra Nygren worked with Rise Together, a movement that speaks to young people on issues, including drugs and alcohol.
The Rise Together team released this statement:
"Our prayers and support go out to Cassie Nygren and her family, including everyone that has been impacted by the grip of addiction. Together, our communities must lead with compassion and empathy in this great time of need. Addiction is not a moral failing issue but instead a chronic illness. Prevention works, treatment is effective, and people do recover. If you or a loved one is struggling do not continue to suffer in silence. Please seek the support that you need."
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