Area Man Accused of Tampering With Evidence in Meth Overdose Case

| November 23, 2022

OAKLAND TWP., Pa. (EYT) – An area man is in hot water for allegedly tampering with the victim’s cell phone following a methamphetamine overdose in Oakland Township.

According to court documents, Franklin-based State Police filed the following criminal charges against 42-year-old Ryan Shawn Culver, of Shippenville, in Magisterial District Judge Andrew F. Fish’s office on Monday, November 21:

– Tamper with/Fabricate Physical Evidence, Misdemeanor 2 (two counts)

According to a criminal complaint, PSP Franklin responded to a campsite at Two Mile Run Campground in Oakland Township, Venango County, for a report of a deceased male around 11:10 a.m. on July 2.

The 9-1-1 call was made by a park employee.

Upon arrival, the victim was identified as 67-year-old Ricky Renninger. The victim’s body was located seated in the driver’s seat of his vehicle at the campsite, the complaint states.

No visible injuries were found on the victim’s body, the complaint indicates.

Troopers discovered a glass smoking pipe smashed in the woods next to the campsite, according to the complaint.

Ryan Culver was also present at the scene and was interviewed by investigators.

Culver related the victim was his “best friend” and stepdad. Culver explained the victim had picked him up the day before and they drove out to the campsite.

According to the complaint, Culver told police that as soon as the victim picked him up, he was informed that the victim had some methamphetamine.

Culver related that the victim repeatedly tried to get him to smoke the meth, but Culver declined. He also indicated that he had no idea where the victim got the meth, the complaint notes.

The victim, Culver, and a known female, who had also been at the campsite, eventually went to a nearby pizza shop.

After leaving the pizza shop, the known female went home while Culver and the victim returned to the campsite, and the victim had been smoking meth while they were driving around, the complaint states.

When they arrived at the campsite, the victim indicated he was going to go home because it was raining. Culver then stated that he went to sleep in the tent. Culver told police that when he woke up in the morning, he went to check on the victim and found him unresponsive and obviously deceased, the complaint notes.

Culver then called the known female and notified her that the victim died. He stated he removed a meth pipe from the victim’s car and threw it up in the woods because he didn’t want her to “see the pipe and think badly of the victim,” the complaint states.

Culver stated he did not have a cell phone, but he could be contacted on his girlfriend’s number, which he provided.

Police then spoke with the known female, who is the daughter of the victim. She was asked how Culver had contacted her since he reportedly didn’t have a phone and authorities did not find the victim’s phone at the scene. She advised Culver contacted her on the victim’s cell phone, but she didn’t see Culver with the phone when she arrived, the complaint indicates.

On July 4, troopers attempted to call the victim’s phone number, which went straight to voicemail, indicative of the phone being powered off or not in a service area.

Troopers then traveled to Culver’s residence in Shippenville, Clarion County. Culver initially denied having the victim’s cell phone and tried to claim it was left at the campsite, the complaint notes.

Eventually, Culver admitted he had that phone, but he had it torn apart. He then retrieved the phone that had been disassembled. Two phone SIM cards were observed on the dining room table that belonged to the victim, the complaint states.

A search warrant was obtained for the victim’s cell phone, which showed that Culver had been using the phone between the time the victim died and when it was seized from him, the complaint indicates.

A toxicology report of the victim showed he had high levels of methamphetamine in his system and his cause of death was listed as methamphetamine toxicity, the complaint notes.

Culver faces a preliminary hearing on December 21, at 1:30 p.m., in Venango County Central Court with Judge Fish presiding. 

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