Former Teacher’s Aide Accused In Connection With 4 Overdose Deaths
CENTENNIAL (CBS4) – A former teacher’s aide faces one count of murder after being accused of dealing drugs to young adults who died of overdoses.
A 31-page arrest affidavit says Almeda Beth Sullivan, 50, is linked to the overdose deaths of four people between the ages of 19 and 28 years old. According to police, the deaths spanned from 2007 to 2011, including two that occurred on the same day.
Police say Sullivan had been dealing prescription drugs, specifically pain medication, to various young people. According to the affidavit, a person interviewed in the case told police that Sullivan would sell her drugs to “white college preppy boys” right out of her Centennial home.
Police say since 2008 Sullivan is linked to the overdose deaths of the following four people: Carter Lee Higdon, 21; Sierra Renee Cochran, 19; Lindsey Jo Saidy, 28; and Martynas Simanskas, 20.
It was the overdose death of Higdon that led investigators to Sullivan’s home. A crime technician recognized her home from another overdose death, which kicked off a larger investigation.
“The same drug, Opana, appears in each of the four victims. That is not a normal drug you see around,” Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler said.
Police say Sullivan’s medical background as a respiratory technician, among other specialties, gave her knowledge of the drug.
“She has access to drugs that you and I don’t have access to. She had knowledge to the strengths of drugs that you and I don’t probably know of,” Brauchler said. “She also knew that if rushed up, these drugs would be more potent.”
The Cherry Creek School District confirms Sullivan is a former teacher’s aide at West Middle School and worked in transportation. She worked for the district on two separate occasions. She left the district in May 2005.
At Sullivan’s Centennial home police say they found a large amount of various prescription pills, including OxyContin. Court documents say Sullivan was also receiving excess amounts of pills. Records from a database that tracks narcotic prescriptions indicates she received between 4,000 and 5,000 pills each year from 2007 to 2011.