Kentucky State Police have identified the “primary suspect” in the death of a pregnant Whitley County woman, who was killed Saturday evening, and whose baby died Tuesday evening.
“Upon further investigation, KSP Detectives have named Daniel Nantz, 29, of Woodbine, as the primary suspect in the murder of his girlfriend, Geri D. Johnson. Nantz is currently in custody in the Laurel County Detention Center on unrelated federal drug charges,” said KSP Public Affairs Officer Lloyd Cochran.
“This investigation will be presented to the Whitley County Grand Jury on the next available date. No other information is available at this time.”
Johnson, who was pregnant at the time, was pronounced dead at approximately 6:20 p.m. on March 16 at Baptist Health Corbin.
The infant, whose name was listed as Amelia Johnson, was successfully delivered and transferred to the University of Kentucky Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where she died just before 7 p.m. on Marc 19.
The cause of death is listed as homicide for the child, according to the Fayette County Coroner’s Office.
State police and Corbin Police are known to have investigated a Chevrolet pickup truck in connection with the incident after it was located on the Corbin bypass at the connector ramp with Ky. 26. The vehicle was towed from the scene.
State police have released few details about the case, but a review of federal court records is revealing more information about Nantz.
The Laurel County Correctional Center’s website indicates that Daniel Scott Nantz, 29, of McNeal Corn Creek Road, Woodbine, was booked into the facility on March 19 at 2:51 p.m. and is being listed as a federal prisoner. Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms officials arrested Nantz.
Federal court documents indicate that Nantz was arrested on a charge of conspiracy to distribute a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine, which is a schedule II controlled substance. The conspiracy allegedly took place between Jan. 1, 2018 and Oct. 10, 2018 in Whitley County, according to the criminal complaint in the case.
Laurel County Sheriff’s Detective Richard A. J. Dalrymple, who is a task force officer of the U.S. Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), investigated the case and filed three-page affidavit in Nantz’s case, which was dated March 19.
During August 2018, ATF interviewed a cooperating witness, who advised that he allegedly purchased multiple ounce quantities of methamphetamine from a Jonathan Harper of Louisville, and that Harper allegedly supplied Daniel Nantz with large quantities of methamphetamine, according to the affidavit.
On Sept. 11 and Sept. 24, ATF interviewed a second cooperating witness, who identified Jake Messer as an alleged drug dealing associate of Daniel Nantz, and told authorities that Nantz had allegedly supplied Messer with as much as three ounces of methamphetamine in a single transaction, the affidavit stated.
On Oct. 10, a third cooperating witness identified Nantz as an alleged customer of Harper since January 2018, and told authorities that he had allegedly delivered methamphetamine to Nantz on two or three occasions, Dalrymple wrote in the affidavit.
During the interview, the third cooperating witness placed a telephone call to a man identified as Daniel Nantz and discussed a four-ounce methamphetamine transaction with him, the affidavit alleged.
On Nov. 29, ATF interviewed Michael Whitehead, who told police that the third cooperating witness was allegedly supplying Nantz with methamphetamine, according to the affidavit.
On Feb. 15 and March 1, ATF interviewed Justin Collins, who admitted to making trips to Louisville with Shylah Hart to allegedly obtain methamphetamine. He told authorities that Hart was allegedly supplying Nantz and that prior to one trip to Louisville, Hart allegedly picked up $4,000 to pay for one pound of methamphetamine for Nantz, the affidavit stated.
On Dec. 28, ATF spoke with Tasha Wernicke, who identified Nantz as an alleged distributor of large quantities of methamphetamine, according to the affidavit.
Nantz made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court on March 20 before Magistrate Judge Hanly A. Ingram, who scheduled a preliminary hearing for March 25 at 1:45 p.m. A detention hearing is scheduled immediately after the preliminary hearing.
KSP Detective Jessie Armstrong is continuing the murder investigation.
Check back to www.thenewsjournal.net for more information as it becomes available.