Teen admits to putting cattle drug in stepdad's energy drink

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
A Rock County teen admitted to putting a sedative used on cattle into his stepdad's energy drink because he thought it would be funny.

A 17-year-old Rock County youth faces felony charges after admitting to putting a cattle sedative into his stepfather's energy drink. 

Tyler Rabenhorst-Malone faces charges of placing foreign objects in edibles and second degree recklessly endangering safety, according to a criminal complaint filed with Rock County Circuit Court on Feb. 28, 2019. 

The first sign of trouble came in December 2017 when Rabenhorst-Malone's mother reported a theft of prescription medications to the Rock County Sheriff's Department. In early January of 2018, Rabenhorst-Malone's mother and stepfather noticed a box of Oxytocin, containing Rompun (Xylazine, a sedative used on their cows during delivery of calves), missing from the barn, according to the criminal complaint.

On Jan. 28, 2018, Rabenhorst-Malone's stepfather went to the UW hospital because he was experiencing a droopy face, slurring words, breathing heavy and stumbling. An MRI done at the time did not find any problems. Doctors associated the symptoms with consuming energy drinks, stress and lack of sleep, the complaint stated. 

In March 2018, Rabenhorst-Malone was expelled from Whitewater High School for hacking school emails.

According to the complaint, on April 1, 2018 Rabenhorst-Malone's stepfather started feeling the same symptoms he experienced in January, although not as severe, however, the symptoms worsened over the next couple of days.

The stepfather cut back on his energy drink consumption but suspected that Rabenhorst-Malone was messing with him when he was trying to sleep on the couch since he would wake up with blankets piled on his head. Rabenhorst-Malone's stepfather also felt someone flicking his foot or toes and would wake up to see Rabenhorst-Malone walking away, according to the complaint. 

At this point, Rabenhorst-Malone's stepdad stopped leaving his open beverages sitting around and began securing them. After doing so, the symptoms started to disappear, the man told officials. 

Rabenhorst-Malone's stepdad gave an energy drink suspected to have been tampered with to sheriff's deputies and two syringes found shoved in a corner of the barn where syringes were not kept, but where Rabenhorst-Malone would gravitate toward when he was in the barn. Rabenhorst-Malone's mother also found an empty pill bottle in the barn which was one of the bottles reported stolen in December. 

The drink and syringes were analyzed at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory which determined Xylazine was present in the drink and syringes. 

According to the criminal complaint, Rabenhorst-Malone freely told an employee at the farm that he was "joking around" and messing with his stepdad when he was sleeping, putting blankets on his face, punching him in the ribs and tying his hands while he was sleeping. Rabenhorst-Malone's mother found black strings shoved into the couch cushion cracks and after searching Rabenhorst-Malone's room found a black mesh bag with the drawstrings removed. 

When a deputy talked with Rabenhorst-Malone on Feb. 7, 2019, he became emotional and admitted to putting the drug (Xylazine) in his stepdad's drink. Rabenhorst-Malone said he didn't want to hurt his "dad," but thought it would be funny.

Rabenhorst-Malone could face a fine of not more than $10,000 or prison for up to three years and six months or both for placing foreign objects in the drink, a Class I felony and $25,000 or prison for up to 10 years or  both for second degree recklessly endangering safety, a Class G felony. 

Carol Spaeth-Bauer at 262-875-9490 or Follow her on Twitter at cspaethbauer or Facebook at