McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

November 21, 2012

A decision on criminal charges against Narconon Arrowhead possible next week

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — An official decision on whether criminal charges will be filed in a case involving deaths at Narconon Arrowhead could be made as soon as next week, according to District 18 District Attorney Farley Ward.

“We just received our copy of the medical examiner’s report,” Ward said.

“We will review the case and an official decision will be made next week.”
His office has been waiting for the results of the autopsy report on Stacy Murphy, a 20-year-old woman who was found dead at the facility in July, before making a decision in an ongoing investigation that began after Murphy died.
She was the third person found dead at the Scientology based facility in nine months. A fourth patient died in 2009.
 The report on Murphy’s death states; “The cause of death is  Acute Oxymorphone Toxicity” and the manner of death as “Accident.”
Ward said that the fact that Murphy died from an accidental overdose will affect the direction of the investigation.
 “Yes, this is substantial factor in the decision making process,” Ward said.
In July, Murphy’s death caused officials to take a closer look into the deaths of three others who died in a span of less than a year while patients of the facility.
 From October 2011 until July of 2012, three people were found dead at the facility.
The first reported death at the facility, according to police reports, was that of  Gabriel Graves. Graves was found dead in his bed facing a wall in his room at the facility. Then in April, Hillary Holten, 21, was found dead face- down in her bed, also in her room at the facility, and in July, Murphy was found dead at the facility.
 Officials are also looking into the 2009 death of Kaysie Dianne Werninck, 28, who also died while admitted as a Narconon patient.
Robert Murphy, the father of Stacy Murphy, said these results confirm what he suspected. 
“Narconon was aware of her overdose situation and did nothing to help her,” he alleged Tuesday.
Garu Richardson, the Tulsa attorney representing the Murphy family, said the findings were consistent with what they knew all along.
“Narconon Arrowhead was paid handsomely to care for Stacy,” Richardson said. 
He said Stacy Murphy died after being allowed to go home for a short visit while she was still a patient.
 “By their own guidelines, they disallow anyone from leaving the facility during the treatment because they are subject to greater harm due to the detoxification process they undergo at the facility,” Richardson said. 
“So here is a young lady, who, a few hours after returning to  Narconon, appeared to be on drugs and they gave her no treatment and no care,” he alleged.
Meanwhile, Ward said he’s waiting to speak with the attorney from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health as well as other agencies involved in the investigation before making a decision.
Calls to Narconon Arrowhead were not returned by presstime today. In the past, the facility has declined to comment on the deaths, citing the privacy of its clients and stating that the families of those who have died have not consented to a release of information. Facility officials have, however, expressed regret about the deaths.
Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.