Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Family mourns a stolen life

by Rob Ireland

March 08, 2012

Just a couple days before his death, Codie Krueger and his father, Kim, volunteered at the One Step at a Time Camp, taking kids with cancer on horseback rides and kayaking.

Now, Kim and the rest of Codie’s family can only rely on the memories they have of him.

Kim remembers his son as the smiling, happy boy he raised. A child who loved the outdoors, hunting and fishing. Someone who would do anything for a laugh.

Last August, at the age of 21, Codie died at his home from a heroin overdose. The woman who allegedly provided him the drug now faces a felony charge of first-degree reckless homicide and, if convicted, up to 40 years imprisonment.

Codie grew up with both his parents, and his sister Jessica Sikraji. The family took vacations, went skiing and was close. His parents have been married for 25 years.

While sitting in the lobby area at Grand Geneva Tuesday, Kim showed off several pictures of his son smiling as he holds up the horns of a prized buck.

He grew up enjoying the outdoors. When he was a toddler, Codie would sit quietly with his dad in deer stands.

“He did a lot in 21 years,” Kim said. “He was a fun-loving kid.”

Kim said his son struggled with his addiction, but prior to his death had been clean for six to eight weeks. Kim said he was proud of his son for fighting his addiction.

In December 2010, Kim paid for Codie to go to a rehab center in Arizona. Later, he paid for an opiate-blocker, a drug that blocks the effects of heroin.

“You can spend a million dollars, but you have got to want to stop,” Kim said.

Kim told his son the drug would kill him if he continued to use it.

“I do know people who were on it. You hope that through Codie’s death maybe they can see what the end result is if they don’t get off it,” Kim said.

For parents who have children addicted to heroin or other drugs, Kim has simple advice for them.

“Just love them, let them know that you are there for them,” he said.

Coping with their son’s death has been difficult for Kim and his wife, Jamie.

They plan to move out of their home. They attend a “Compassionate Friends” group, which is for parents who have lost a child.

Kim said the group helps, “It makes you know you are not alone.”

For the woman who allegedly provided the drugs to his son, Lisa Jurgens, of Crystal Lake, Ill., Kim isn’t sure what should happen to her.

After all, nothing will bring his son back, but “there should be some punishment.”

Kim, who runs Dan Patches Stables at The Grand Geneva, said his son helped him at the stable.

However, Codie wasn’t a horse person, and instead loved motorcross.

As a young man, Codie had girlfriends and a dog named, “Bishop.”

“He was a fun loving kid,” Kim said. “He had a firm handshake, he was respectful to everybody.”

More than 400 people attended Codie’s funeral. Some of his friends even sport tattoos with pictures of Codie. Some have pictures of the bucks he shot, with his name engraved underneath it.

Codie also ran a small business, Codie’s Kayaking and Canoeing, and he helped his father design an interactive corn maze for Dan Patches Stables, which debuted in September 2011.

In Kim’s eyes, Codie was just a fun-loving kid.

“If you look at the pictures, you know what I mean,” Kim said. “He never took life to serious, he took each day as it comes.”