McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Police/Courts

August 7, 2012

DA: Narconon Arrowhead under investigation by OKLA Dept. of Mental Health after four deaths

McALESTER — By JEANNE LEFLORE

Staff Writer

 District 18 Assistant District Attorney Richard Hull confirmed this morning the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health was at Narconon Arrowhead on Thursday to investigate after three deaths in the last year and a fourth death in 2009.

Hull said the Department of Mental Health was looking into the facilities licensing provisions and other issues.

"The Inspector General is looking into the consumer aspect of compliance with Department of Mental Health," Hull said.

The widening investigation began after  20-year-old Stacy Dawn Murphy of Owasso was found dead at the facility July 19th.

Four deaths are under investigation according to Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns.

Kerns said Monday that Murphy's death along with the death of Hilary Holten who was also found dead at Narconon Arrowhead in April and Gabriel Graves who died at the facility in October and the 2009 death of Kaysie Dianne Werninck, 28, are all under iinvestigation.

 Kern's said his deputies escorted the DMH investigators to the facility on Thursday.

He said on Friday, his department also requested documents including video tape and all records associated with the recent deaths.

"We requested everything, including video and documentation," he said.

He said Narconon was compliant.

"They gave us everything we asked for," Kerns said.

In April, Holten, 21, of Carrollton, Texas, was found dead in her room at Narconon Arrowhead. She was at the facility for less than two days, when she was found face down on her bed.In October, Graves, 32, was found in his bed at the same Narconon facility, according to a Pittsburg County Sheriffs Report.

In and earlier case, Narconon Arrowhead settled a lawsuit filed by the parents of Kaysie Dianne Werninck, 28, of St. Augustine Florida who died “as a result of the defendant’s gross negligence,”on March 3 2009, according to the lawsuit.For more on this story, see the print or electronic editions of the McAlester News-Capital. Click here for print edition home delivery or click here to see the Smart Edition for your computer, tablet, e-reader or smartphone.

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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