OD victim’s mom: Tunnel suspects ‘heroes’ for rescue attempt




GLEN LYON, Pa. (AP) — The mother of a woman whose overdose death in New York City spurred a rescue attempt by three people arrested with a cache of weapons near the Holland Tunnel said the suspects are heroes for trying to help.

John Cramsey, Dean Smith and Kimberly Arendt, all from Pennsylvania, were arrested June 21 as they prepared to enter the tunnel in a truck carrying weapons, including a shotgun, five handguns, and a semi-automatic, military-style rifle.

Cramsey, whose daughter died of a heroin overdose in February, had posted online he was heading to New York to "rescue" a 16-year-old girl whose friend had overdosed.

Mandy Powell, of Glen Lyon, Pennsylvania, identified her daughter, 20-year-old Sierra Schmitt, as the overdose victim.

"Kudos to them that they tried to save these girls. There should be more people like that out there. They are heroes, not convicts. If I ever get to see them or meet them, I'd thank them," Powell told The Citizens' Voice of Wilkes-Barre (http://bit.ly/29eK4Xd).

Powell said she believes her daughter was given a lethal dose of heroin. She said she had warned her daughter about her lifestyle.

"She always lived life on the edge. I warned her. I told her everybody is not her friend," Powell told the newspaper.

The cause and manner of Schmitt's death remains under investigation, said Julie Bolcer, spokeswoman for the New York City Medical Examiner's Office.

Cramsey, of Zionsville; Smith, of Whitehall; and Arendt, of Lehighton, are charged with several weapons offenses, but their attorneys have said the police search was illegal. They all remain jailed on $75,000 bail.

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Information from: The Citizens' Voice, http://www.citizensvoice.com