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Superior man charged in overdose death

Nathan Birkholz

Charges were filed in Douglas County Circuit Court against a Superior man in connection with an overdose death in November, according to a news release issued by District Attorney Mark Fruehauf.

Nathan Birkholz, 22, is facing a charge of first-degree reckless homicide as a repeater. He was charged in connection with the death of Neil Christianson, 25, who was found in the early morning hours of Nov. 25. An autopsy determined that the cause of death was heroin and acryl fentanyl toxicity.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic similar to morphine, but it is 50 to 100 times more potent.

Birkholz is accused of delivering to Christianson a substance that contained heroin and fentanyl, and that substance is believed to have caused Christianson's death.

According to the criminal complaint: Superior Police Investigator Sean Holmgren and Duluth Investigator Matt Nevanen were investing Christianson's death in early December. They received information Birkholz had sold heroin to Christianson that killed him. Investigators found information that the two had exchanged more than 100 pages of private messages through Facebook messenger, including an extended discussion in which Christianson was seeking to buy drugs from Birkholz about six hours before Christianson's death was discovered.

Birkholz is currently incarcerated in the Wisconsin State prison system on a separate case. He will be returned to Douglas County on a date in the near future to make an initial appearance.

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