MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Two North Carolina men are accused of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman who later died in her South Florida hotel room, authorities said.
Evoire Lea Collier, 21, and Dorian B. Taylor, 24, both of Greensboro, were charged with burglary with battery, petty theft, sexual battery and credit card fraud, according to Miami-Dade online court records. If the drug they allegedly gave the woman played a role in her death, the men also could be facing manslaughter and murder charges, WTVJ reported.
Investigators are trying to determine if the woman, Christine Englehardt, 24, of Richboro, Pennsylvania, died from an overdose, WSVN reported. The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office said Monday it is conducting further tests, and no cause of death has been determined, the Miami Herald reported.
“I’m just shocked that the fact that she’s really gone, it’s been really hard,” Englehardt’s best friend, Hailey Davis, told WSVN. “She was a good person. She didn’t deserve anything like that to happen to her.”
The two men appeared in front of Judge Mindy Glazer on Monday.
“The victim couldn’t even pick up the phone to call the police or 911 after they did what they did to her,” Glazer said.
The arrests come as Miami Beach police and city officials have been grappling with the overwhelming spring break crowds, instituting an 8 p.m. curfew to crack down on rowdy revelers. During a last-minute meeting Sunday, Miami Beach city officials voted to extend the curfew for another week along South Beach, and possibly through April 12, The Associated Press reported.
More than half of the more than 1,000 arrests in Miami Beach were from out of state, City Manager Raul Aguila said.
According to an arrest report, paramedics and officers were called to the Albion Hotel after Englehardt was discovered “semi-nude” and dead in the room’s bed on Thursday. Detectives obtained video surveillance footage of two men entering with Englehardt and then leaving less than an hour later, the Herald reported.
Collier fit the description of one of the men in the video and was detained Saturday, the newspaper reported. He was wearing the same pants that were seen in the video, according to the arrest report.
Collier allegedly confessed to police that he and Taylor met Englehardt at an area restaurant, the Herald reported. Collier claimed that Taylor gave Englehardt a “green pill,” but did not say whether she took it willingly or if she was given it unknowingly.
Collier told police that he believed the drug was Percocet, a Miami Beach detective testified during Monday’s bond hearing.
“Obviously, we sent it to the lab,” Miami Beach Detective Luis Alsina told Glazer. “We don’t know if it was fentanyl or some other narcotic.”
Collier said “that he went along with (Taylor) as they planned to have sex with the victim,” according to the arrest report.
According to the arrest report, when it became clear Englehardt was unconscious, the men stole cash, credit cards and her phone and left her in the room “without any concern for her welfare or safety.”
The men used the credit cards at “various locations” in Miami Beach, the Herald reported, Police said Taylor was captured on video surveillance using the woman’s credit card at a liquor store in South Beach, the newspaper reported. Police found Englehardt’s phone and green pills.
Both men were denied bail and will remain in jail, WSVN reported.
“You’re both being held on some serious charges. You battered a helpless victim,” Glazer said.
Attorneys for the men did not immediately respond to a request for comment, NBC News reported. A woman who identified herself as Collier’s older sister and legal guardian said at the bond hearing that he had never been in trouble and that she was “bewildered” by the charges.
“I can attest to his character,” the woman told NBC News. “Please let my brother come home.”
A GoFundMe account has been established to cover Englehardt’s funeral expenses.