Laurie Mahoney was in a Twin Cities hospital, where both her parents were nearing death, when she got the call from her nephew Brett Blader.
Mahoney’s son, Ryan Briese, 34, was dead from a drug overdose in the Minnetonka home that Blader and Briese shared.
“I was in complete shock,” Mahoney said, recounting that July 19 night when Blader told her the news. “I had to leave my parents” at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park.
Two hours later, her father, Dan Mahoney died, she said.
“How do you process that two of the most important men in your life are dead?” Mahoney said on the day her son’s alleged drug provider was charged with murder.
Mahoney was in Hennepin County District Court on Tuesday when Sarah E. Doppler, 28, who had been her son’s co-worker at Comcast offices in Minnetonka, appeared and had her bail set at $200,000.
Doppler, of Golden Valley, was charged Friday with third-degree murder in connection with Briese’s overdose at the home in the 14000 block of Brandbury Walk. Her attorney was not immediately available to comment on the allegations.
The medical examiner’s office said Briese died after ingesting a mix of drugs, including synthetic opioids, fentanyl and an opioid analgesic.
Officers called to the home found Briese not breathing in front of his computer. He was declared dead at the scene. Police found drug paraphernalia and several tablets nearby with “E8” inscribed on them, according to the criminal complaint.
A friend told police that Briese had said that day that he was going to meet with Doppler, someone known to deal in illicit narcotics. Briese’s cellphone placed him near Doppler’s home on the day he died and contained text messages showing his intent to buy pills from her, according to the charging document.
Doppler is alleged to have sold Briese fentanyl, a drug considered far more addicting and deadly than heroin.
Briese attended Bloomington Jefferson High School, where his experience of being cut as a senior from varsity hockey tryouts in 2000 was recounted in the popular nonfiction book “Blades of Glory” by John Rosengren.
Briese went on to play with the Bloomington Amateur Hockey Association’s youth Junior Gold team, worked at a car dealership two years after graduation and kept skating recreationally, according to the book.
Matt Duncan, a close friend who played varsity for Jefferson and skated with Briese in their youth, said that he, Briese and a few other guys in their Jefferson days “were a tight group of kids.” When Briese was cut, he said, “that hit us pretty hard.”
Since her son’s death, Mahoney has started the Ryan’s Rink Rats Foundation and raised $7,000 for the hockey association that Briese called his hockey home for many years. Anyone seeking more information can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit facebook.com/ryansrinkrats.