Sheriff’s daughter succumbs to drugs

Evidence that drug addiction is relentless and non-discriminating came to light last month when two Butte County men connected to law enforcement lost their daughters to some form of drug abuse.

Shannon Reniff, 34-year-old daughter of Butte County Sheriff Perry Reniff, apparently committed suicide Nov. 18. About a week later, Jonice Foster, the 20-year-old daughter of Public Defender Jodea Foster, reportedly overdosed on heroin in a Chico apartment.

A subdued Reniff told the News & Review this week that Shannon had battled her addiction to methamphetamine for half her life.

“We never kept it a secret, this problem of dealing with crank,” Reniff said of his daughter’s addiction. “We just hope other people could learn.”

Before he was elected sheriff, Reniff, who had two daughters, told this paper he feared methamphetamine because of what he had seen it do to one of his children.

Reniff said he’d last seen his daughter about three weeks before her death.

He said the Sheriff’s Office is developing a meth task force “so all the people dealing with this monster are headed in the same direction. We’ll have a Web site for people who are ignorant of the situation.

“I’m just a county sheriff; it doesn’t matter if you’re the county sheriff or someone digging a ditch, when your kid’s involved, it’s pretty bad.”

Reniff said he and his wife initially thought Shannon got hooked on crank from running with the wrong crowd.

“That wasn’t the case,” he said. “Turns out it was one of her best friends from a good old middle-class family. This drug cuts across socioeconomic levels. It’s just so much more addictive and debilitating.”

Reniff said his daughter did well on and off, including having a family.

“But there are those times when they need heavy medication just to function when they are coming off the stuff,” he added.

Recently, he said, Reniff learned his daughter had a new boyfriend who was a crank user. She was dead soon after he heard this.

Now he says he is simply "trying to get through the holidays."