McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

November 20, 2012

ME Report-Woman died of accidental overdose at Narconon Arrowhead

By Jeanne LeFlore
Staff Writer

McALESTER — A young woman died from an accidental overdose at Narconon Arrowhead according to the toxicological report released today by Office of Chief Medical Examiner in Oklahoma City. 

Stacy Murphy, 20,  was found dead in July at the facility and state federal and county officials have been waiting for the results of her autopsy to complete an investigation after her death and the deaths of three others who also died while patients of the Scientology based drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Canadian.
Regarding the death of Murphy, “The cause of death is acute Oxymorphone toxicity and the manner is reported as accidental,” according to Amy Elliott, chief administrative officer for the chief medical examiner in Oklahoma City.
Murphy’s death, along with three others who also died while patients at the facility, have been the subject of an ongoing investigation by federal, state and county officials.
 Murphy’s death followed three others since 2009. Two of the deaths occurred at the facility in a span of less then a year.
In October, Gabriel Graves, 31, was found dead in his bed at the facility, and then in April, Holten was found dead in her bed at the facility. And in 2009, Kaysie Werninck also died while a patient at the facility.
In August, a lawsuit was filed by Matthew and Suzan Holten, the parents of Hillary Holten.
The suit, filed in Pittsburg County District Court on Aug. 23, alleges that Narconon did not provide adequate medical care for their daughter, Hillary Holten, and that she died as a result of Narconon’s negligence.
According to the lawsuit, after Hillary Holten was admitted to a hospital for health-related issues, she tested positive for drugs.
Her parents found Narconon Arrowhead after searching for a rehabilitation center with “the hopes that she could obtain treatment for drug issues,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit also states her parents were assured the facility had adequate medical staff which could properly manage their daughter’s Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, a condition which required daily doses of Dexamethasone and in extreme circumstances, an injection of liquid cortisone.
In October, Robert Murphy and Tonya White, parents of 20-year-old Stacy Dawn Murphy, of Owasso, filed suit against Narconon, alleging the facility was grossly negligent, willful, wanton and reckless. According to the lawsuit the family is seeking damages in excess of $75,000 from Narconon Arrowhead, Narconon International, the Association for Better Living and Education International and Dr. Gerald Wootan.
The lawsuit alleges that “Narconon’s actions were grossly negligent, willful, wanton and reckless resulting in the suffering and death of Stacy Murphy, the plaintiff’s daughter.”
The lawsuit also alleged that the organizations being sued worked to “tortuously operate a dangerous, unsafe an unsupervised drug and alcohol rehabilitation program.”
Calls to John Bittinas, public relations person for Narconon Arrowhead, were not returned by press-time today.
Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.