Oxycontin overdose death leads to murder charge - FOX 13 News

Oxycontin overdose death leads to murder charge

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

He didn't use a gun or a knife or another type of weapon, but now a Tampa man is under arrest for murder. Hillsborough County deputies said Ned Castel sold 21-year-old Stephan Gruendel Oxycontin, and the next day he overdosed on the drug.

Gruendel's only brother told us, while they're happy a drug dealer is off the streets, a lifelong struggle with sadness over his loss is only beginning.

Not yet 22, Stephan Gruendel had his whole life ahead of him.

"Everybody that knew him, loved him," said his younger brother Chris.

The family is feeling a sense of justice served, knowing the man detectives said sold him the drugs that killed him is behind bars.

"So the medical examiner did an autopsy and it turns out it was an overdose," said Debbie Carter with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. "And they did the toxicology, which takes a couple months, and they figured out that it was from Oxycontin."

Castel, 22, is charged with third-degree murder and for delivering a controlled substance. Castel had six prior arrests in Hillsborough County since 2006 and all of those charges were drug-related.

"That's great that they found him," offered Chris Gruendel.

Chris is Stephan's only sibling and he said they are grateful for the detective work that was done.

"Now, he can't go off and sell drugs to other people and this can't happen to other people's families with, at least, that same guy," said Gruendel.

He explained his brother struggled with drugs one time before, in high school.

"We sent him to rehab, to the Phoenix House," said Gruendel. "Right after he got out of the rehab place, he started working out, going to the beach, he got big. In high school, I was always bigger than him, they would call him my little brother, but once he started out, he got much bigger than I did."

Gruendel believes his brother met Castel through a friend at work, and things went downhill from there. His father heard Stephan up early February 6.

"When my dad woke up, he went into the room to go check on him and he was just, you know, [tilts head back and closes eyes] asleep and he tried to wake him up, but he didn't wake-up."

In many instances like this, dealers disappear and it's hard to make a case. But with technology on their side, deputies picked Castel up at the corner of 29th and Osborne on Monday.

And it wasn't like he was hard to find either. Sheriff's deputies said he was already wearing a GPS ankle bracelet, which was monitoring his every move, as he was wanted on several other drug charges.

"Yes, it was very easy to find him," said Carter. "Just go to where the monitor says he was."

For the family, the loss creates a new struggle.

"I mean, I couldn't concentrate on school," said Gruendel. "I couldn't concentrate on anything."

He sat out this past semester at Florida Atlantic University, so he could sort the whole thing out.

"It's hard, but it's just something that our family's gonna have to go through, for the rest of our lives," added Gruendel.

Castel remains in the Hillsborough County jail. No word yet, when or if, any bond will be set.

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