The New York Post:
She was an aspiring marine biologist from tony New Canaan, Connecticut, who loved nature and hanging out with her friends.
So when Katherine Schlegel, 20, told her mom, Elena, in August 2018 that she was headed to Randall’s Island for the Electric Zoo music fest, “I didn’t think anything about it,” her mother recently told The Post.
“Like, ‘OK, she’s going off for the weekend to a concert,’ ” Elena Schlegel recalled. “And off she went — Friday morning, ‘Bye, have a great a time.’
“Never saw her again,” the mother said.
What happened to Katherine next is a tragic mix of missteps and crime detailed for the first time to The Post by her mom and the dogged Bronx NYPD detective who helped solve the case.
Elena recalled how earlier in 2018, Katherine found herself struggling with school and decided to take a semester off from the University of South Carolina to return home for awhile.
Soon, a friend introduced the young woman to a group of Army soldiers stationed at upstate Fort Drum.
In the spring of that year, Katherine went to the base’s military ball with one of the soldiers, a sergeant named Nick Ramshaw, and the pair started dating.
Katherine also met Ramshaw’s friend Tanner Howell, a fellow soldier stationed at the base.
Elena said she remembers not being “keen” on Katherine’s new relationship, but didn’t worry too much because she didn’t think it would last.
After a few months of dating, Katherine, Ramshaw, Howell and several other friends made plans to attend Electric Zoo — a three-day electronic music carnival scheduled to culminate with a performance by mega-DJ Tiesto on the Sunday before Labor Day.
On Randall’s Island off Manhattan, Howell arranged to buy 57 capsules of the drug ecstasy, or Molly, from two other Fort Drum soldiers who also traveled to the festival, prosecutors charged in a criminal complaint against him filed in Manhattan federal court.
The soldiers — former Army Spc. Lagaria Slaughter and an unnamed man who is cooperating with authorities — met Katherine and one of her friends near the bag check outside the festival and handed over the drugs, the feds said.