(Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.)
A Sherman man was arrested Wednesday for manslaughter in connection to the death of a 15-year-old girl for whom he allegedly purchased alcohol.
William Duane Wheeler, 53, of Sherman, was arrested after a police investigation led authorities to believe that Wheeler purchased alcohol for the minor, as well as two other teenagers, and allowed them to consume excessive amounts that led to the girl’s death.
The investigation began on the morning of June 11 when Sherman Police received a call from the 16-year-old daughter of Wheeler, who reported Kayla Sue Youngs was unresponsive inside Wheeler’s residence in the 2200 block of Kevin Court. Emergency personnel responded and found Youngs dead, according to the affidavit for the arrest warrant the Herald Democrat obtained Thursday.
The affidavit, which was prepared by Det. Rob Ballew, states there were no obvious signs of injury to Youngs’ body, and a white foam was on her upper lip. The document states the white foam is “often associated with deaths resulting from excessive alcohol or substance abuse.”
Police found bottles of cinnamon flavored whiskey, coconut rum and peppermint schnapps in the Wheeler’s bedroom closet, and an empty bottle of cherry flavored vodka was found in the kitchen trash can. Police then interviewed Wheeler, the 16-year-old and 19-year-old male Joshua Benner, who were all at the residence the night of the death.
Benner told police that Wheeler purchased the alcohol the previous night for the teenagers, and Wheeler drank as well. He said Wheeler was in the room when “Youngs was chugging excessive quantities of the alcoholic beverages,” according to the document.
In the initial interview with Wheeler, he told police that he did not purchase the alcohol for the teenager, did not drink with them and did not observe them drinking. The affidavit states that Wheeler told police he checked on Youngs at about 4 a.m. that morning, and he could not determine if she had a pulse. Wheeler could not wake her, and the document states he “chose not to contact emergency services and instead went back to bed.”
When police interviewed the 16-year-old, she said Wheeler did buy the alcohol, and he was in the room when the teenagers were drinking. The arrest warrant states when she awoke at about 7 a.m. she found Youngs dead.
In a later interview with police, the document states Wheeler admitted to buying the alcohol, observing the teenagers become intoxicated and said “he felt responsible for the death.”
The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy and toxicology on the body, and found that Youngs’ blood alcohol content was 0.411. The document notes the statutory limit for blood alcohol content in Texas is 0.08. No other substances were found, and her death was because of “toxic effects of alcohol.”
Wheeler was booked into the Grayson County Jail on Wednesday, and he was released on Thursday on a $30,000 personal recognizance bond.