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Former nurse charged with killing Post Falls woman

Jan. 26, 2018 Updated Fri., Jan. 26, 2018 at 7:02 p.m.

Cathryn Mason, a 19-year-old North Idaho College student, died from a heroin overdose May 16, 2014. Now, 3 1/2 years later, a man she was seeing stands accused of killing her.

A grand jury indicted 29-year-old Ryan Alan Forbes on a count of second-degree murder last month in connection with Mason’s death, according to her family.

Details of Forbes’ murder charge are being kept secret by a judge’s order sealing details of the case. However, Forbes’ alleged involvement in the overdose death was mentioned by a probation officer in a Nov. 17 letter to Kootenai County Judge Scott Wayman.

Forbes, a former nurse at Benewah County Hospital in St. Maries, has been jailed since October for violating the terms of his drug court program.

“Ryan Forbes in my opinion, is a smart young man who is struggling with polysubstance abuse and an undiagnosed mental illness,” the probation officer wrote. “He is also potentially facing a manslaughter charge for the role he allegedly played in the overdose death of a companion in May 2014.”

Mason and Forbes had been seeing each other for about four weeks after meeting on an online dating site, according to a Post Falls Police report filed after the woman overdosed at Forbes’ mother’s house on March 14, 2014.

Around 7 p.m, police were called to a house on the 2200 block of North Beech Street in Post Falls officers due to an unresponsive female. Officers said they found Forbes attempting CPR on the woman.

Forbes told Post Falls Police Officers that after Mason showed up to the home drunk, he fell asleep. When Forbes woke up, he told police, Mason wasn’t responding and didn’t have a pulse.

Forbes told an officer that Mason had used “some type of opiate.” In a search of Forbes’ residence, officers said they found a meth pipe and a spoon. He admitted to injecting meth into his arm three weeks earlier, police said.

As officers continued to search the residence, they reportedly found methamphetamine and a container of used syringes and vials the officers described as “medical grade.” The police report noted that Forbes was employed as a nurse in St. Maries at the time during the incident.

When an officer asked if they would find anything else in the home, Forbes said “dirty needles,” according to the police report. Forbes was arrested the following day on possession of a controlled substance.

Mason, who died two days later, succumbed to heroin toxicity, according to an autopsy report. There were no injection marks on her body other than from the hospital, a doctor told police after the autopsy.

Days before her death, Mason had finished her spring semester at North Idaho College. She was pursuing a degree in recreational management, according to her obituary published in the Coeur d’Alene Press.

She was a 2013 Post Falls High graduate and fitness and outdoors enthusiast. She ran Bloomsday and the Windermere Marathon in 2013.

Forbes, a North Idaho College nursing school graduate, has a history of drug-related arrests dating back to 2014. In May 2014, Forbes also was arrested for grand theft in Benewah County, a charge in which he pleaded guilty.

Kootenai County Judge Rich Christensen set Forbes’ bond for $100,000. He’s also being held on a felony controlled substance charge in connection to the murder charge.

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