ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – CBS4 has learned that prescription medications confiscated from death scenes are missing and unaccounted for from the Arapahoe County coroner’s office and the sheriffs office is investigating.
“There were definitely pills missing,” said Arapahoe County coroner, Dr. Kelly Lear, who also said she noticed the problem in May and spot checked five to 10 cases being handled by the coroners office.
She said for at least two of the cases, there were concerns as the number of pills in the storage room did not match the number of pills taken from the decedent’s home. In one of the cases, an entire bottle of oxycodone pills was missing.
“I was concerned about the medications missing,” said Lear. “I’m not sure if it’s 50 or 1,000.”
She asked the Arapahoe County Sheriff to investigate and that probe is currently ongoing.
Lear said when her office investigates a death, personnel confiscate and store medications that belonged to the decedent. They are stored in a locked toxicology room accessible to the office’s 14 staff members who have card keys. Lear said the medications stored there range from opiates, oxycodone and anti-depressants to blood pressure and other medications.
Lear said she was unsure how many pills have disappeared, but sheriff’s investigators have taken all medications which had been under the auspices of the coroner. As the investigation continues, Lear said she has already “tightened up and reinforced procedures” and that in the future, medications will be stored differently.