GREENFIELD — A Greenfield woman searched the Internet for what to do when someone is overdosing but never called 911 while her friend lay, dying, beside her, police say.

Anna Southgate, 19, of Greenfield, is charged with reckless homicide after providing the 16-year-old boy with the hit of heroin that took his life, according to court documents.

Southgate was being held in the Hancock County Jail without bond at press time, having been previously arrested on an unrelated charge.

Investigators say she is responsible for the death of Jacob Root, a Greenfield-Central High School student who overdosed on heroin in early January at Southgate’s home, 933 Gondola Run in Greenfield.

Story continues below gallery

Jacob was found unresponsive there midday Jan. 3 after Southgate’s father called 911 and told dispatchers the boy had been found not breathing. Despite efforts by local paramedics to revive the boy, he never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

Southgate admitted she gave Jacob the drugs that killed him, saying she knew he was “too high,” and she “kept him awake because she was afraid for him and didn’t want him to die,” according to court documents.

Southgate should have recognized her friend was in danger, police said. She said she’s watched two other people overdose on heroin, leading investigators to conclude “Anna knew (Jacob) was ‘too high’ and still never called 911,” charging documents allege.

Early that morning, the pair made plans via Snapchat to get together and take the drugs, Southgate told police, charging documents state.

She told investigators she filled two syringes with heroin — one for her and one for him — around 4 a.m., court documents state.

Then, she taught Jacob how to inject the drug; he’d snorted heroin before but never used a needle to shoot up, she said, according to police documents. So, she filled the syringe and then demonstrated how to insert it into a vein on the top of his hand, she said, court documents state.

She told detectives the amount “didn’t even look like it was a lot,” and Jacob “was a bigger guy, and she thought he could handle it,” police reports state.

Officials discovered two punctures marks on Jacob’s hand during an autopsy after his death that were consistent with the injection marks Southgate described, court documents state.

Toxicology reports showed Jacob had a lethal dose of Fentanyl– a synthetic opioid-based painkiller that is more than 50 times more potent than morphine — in his system, along with other opiates, when he died, according to court documents.

Officers say a search of Southgate’s phone as part of their investigation proves she knew her friend was in distress; a series of Google searches from the night Jacob died included “what to do if your friend has overdosed,” “how to intervene during an overdose” and “the dying process,” court documents state.

Most of the searches were in present tense, police noted in their reports, suggesting Jacob was still alive, that Southgate knew her friend was in trouble but chose not to call police, officials said.

“Anna was searching these terms as (the victim) was dying due to the narcotics she provided. Anna looked these searches up instead of calling 911. Some of these searches directed her to seek medical attention. Anna, still knowing this, chose not to seek attention for (the victim),” court documents state.

Southgate’s story about what happened before Jacob’s death changed several times as she was interviewed by police.

She originally told detectives it was Jacob who brought the heroin into her home and insisted they inject it, court documents state. Later, she admitted she bought the drugs from a dealer in Indianapolis, court documents state. She told officers she’d lied at first “because she didn’t want to look bad to the police,” records state.

When first-responders arrived, they noticed red foam coming from Jacob’s mouth. Southgate said Jacob had been complaining of a sore throat and used a red cough-suppressant spray early that morning. Officers searched her bedroom, but no spray was ever located, court documents state.

Southgate told police she’d seen two others overdose in her lifetime, and “it is very scary to witness,” court documents state. After they’d used the drugs, she started notice the same traits in Jacob, she told police.

He was “too high,” very pale and “talking in gibberish and not making sense to her,” she said, court documents state.

Still, she never called 911, police officers said.

Investigators interviewed Jacob’s mother after his death, and she insisted her son never would have injected himself with heroin because he was “terrified of needles,” court documents state.

Southgate was being held in the Hancock County Jail on an unrelated drug-possession case when the new set of charges was filed against her Wednesday afternoon. She is expected to appear in court on the new charges later this week. The hearing date and time had not been set a press time.

Southgate faces: one Level 4 felony count of dealing a narcotic drug to a minor; one Level 5 felony count of reckless homicide; one Level 6 felony count of possession of a syringe; and one Class C misdemeanor of possession of paraphernalia.

Author photo
Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or