AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The short life of Gina Burger was marked by tragedy and neglect as details of the family’s past are now emerging.
27 First News reporter Amanda Smith spent the day digging into the questions surrounding why Gina Burger was taken from her birth mother 14 years ago, as well as recent developments that show history might be repeating itself for the family.
On Wednesday night, police went back to Compass West apartments, where they found Jackie Bacher passed out from an apparent heroin overdose.
Bacher is recovering at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown.
Austintown Police were dispatched to Bacher’s Compass West apartment just before 8 p.m. Wednesday night for a possible drug offense, according to police records. Upon arriving, a woman told officers of an unresponsive female inside apartment 9 in the building.
Police talked with a woman at the apartment who said her daughter got a call from a friend saying that Bacher was unresponsive. Police found her inside her apartment going in and out of consciousness.
Police also found three spoons with burnt bottoms and heroin residue, along with several hypodermic needles, the report states.
Bacher is the biological mother of 16-year-old murder victim Gina Burger. In 2000, Burger and her three brothers and sisters were taken from Bacher after allegations of neglect and abuse in Broward County, Fla.
Court records in Florida show convictions for dealing in stolen property. Locally, she was charged in Youngstown with possessing drug paraphernalia.
Neighbors have expressed concern over a 3-year-old child living in Bacher’s home.
Mahoning County Children’s Services could not confirm an investigation at this time, but an official said it’s important that everyone keeps an eye on all youngsters in the community.
“Teenagers are a very vulnerable group of children. They are just as vulnerable as our toddlers and our school-age children,” said Patty Amendola of Mahoning County CSB.
Questions remain on why Burger was with her birth mother and not her adoptive parents.
“As the custodial parent, you have the ultimate right and the authority as to where your child is,” Amendola said.
Ricki Williams has been charged with Burger’s murder. He is due back in court on Wednesday.
Prosecutors said they plan to seek the death penalty in the case.