Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Overdose Results in Rare Murder Charge

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Overdose Results in Rare Murder Charge

Article excerpt

This is the first of two columns on Rebecca Callaway. The second column will appear Friday.

Rebecca Callaway, who is now 60, dropped out of Ritenour High School when she was 15 and proceeded to live the kind of hardscrabble life that generally awaits those who don't finish the 10th grade.

She got married when she was 18. The marriage didn't last. She got married again, but she and her second husband lived together only briefly. She supported herself and her husband with a job at a fast-food restaurant.

She separated from her husband when she was pregnant. She went to live in her family's clubhouse on the Mississippi River in Lincoln County. She had no telephone and no car. Her parents would visit on the weekends and bring supplies.

She remembers those days fondly. She fished. She watched eagles. She saw deer swimming across the river.

Even after her daughter was born, she continued living in the clubhouse. In fact, she and her daughter stayed until the Flood of 1993 washed the clubhouse away.

They then moved into the town of Foley.

By then, Callaway had another boyfriend. She married him. She also had a bad back. Surgery didn't help. Prescription drugs did.

Her husband moved to another state. Her daughter got married and started her own family. Callaway lived alone on a small disability check. She told me that a couple of years ago, somebody told her doctor she was selling some of her prescription drugs. The doctor stopped prescribing the drugs.

She started using heroin. Again. She had been a user in her 20s.

One of her neighbors was a young woman named Crystal Cagle. She was a drug user, too.

"She was lonely. I was lonely. I asked her to move in," Callaway said.

Cagle moved in with Callaway in early 2011.

About a month later, another drug user stopped by the house. His name was Travis Tippit. According to Callaway, Tippit and Cagle left the house and came back about eight or nine hours later. Callaway said the three of them then drove to East St. Louis to get some heroin from a man Tippit knew.

They brought the heroin back to Callaway's house. Callaway said she snorted some heroin and Tippit shot up. …

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