MICHIGAN CITY — After handing his father a syringe loaded with heroin and then finding him dead with the needle still in his arm, Joshua Wozniak withdrew money using his dad's debit card and drove to Chicago to buy more heroin, police said. 

It wasn't until eight hours later at 12:23 p.m. Jan. 24, after removing all signs of the drug use from the house, that Wozniak called 911 to report his father's death, according to newly filed court documents in the case.

After Larry Wozniak's body was removed from the rural Springfield Township residence, Joshua again used his father's debit card to withdraw money and made another trip to Chicago to purchase heroin and returned to use it before winding up arrested on unrelated charges early the following day, police said.

He has been charged under a new state law of causing the drug-related death of his father.

A plea of not guilty was entered on the young's man behalf to the Level 1 felony count of dealing in a controlled substance resulting in death and he was appointed a public defender based on a review of the distribution of his late father's estate, according to court records.

Police said a family member of Larry alerted them to the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.

Police were put in contact with a friend of Joshua, who said he had sent her a text message Jan. 24 asking if she wanted to go to Chicago to buy heroin, according to charging documents. The woman thought it was odd he was contacting her using his father's phone, but agreed and on the trip back home Joshua told her about his father's death and said they need to go "clean it up."

Joshua at first told police a different story, but then said he had gone to South Bend with a friend Jan. 23 to purchase heroin and cocaine, according to court documents. He said he obtained the money from his father's bank account.

After returning home, he, his father and friend used the drugs, police said. He said he left the residence for a short time, and when he returned, the trio again did more of the drugs.

Joshua said his father kept asking for more heroin, so about  4 a.m. Jan. 24 he "loaded up a hypodermic needle with heroin and handed it to his father," according to charging documents. He said he watched his father inject himself "and described it as him 'hitting the vein' right away."

Joshua said he went upstairs in the house "and when he came back downstairs his father was deceased with the needle hanging out of his arm," according to the charging documents.

Joshua said he removed the needle from his father's arm, used his father's debit card to withdraw cash and drove to Chicago to purchase heroin, police said. He returned home, cleaned up the drug paraphernalia, reported his dad's death and once the body was removed, drove back to Chicago to buy more heroin and took money again from his father's account, police said.

At Joshua's request, a speedy trial has been scheduled for April 22, with a bond reduction hearing Feb. 26 and status hearing April 4 before LaPorte County Superior Court Judge Michael Bergerson.

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Porter/LaPorte County Courts and Social Justice Reporter

Bob is a 23-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.