An Ohio police chief who died of a fentanyl overdose allegedly took the drugs from his department's evidence room, authorities say.
Kirkersville Police Chief James Hughes Jr., 35, was found unresponsive in the bathroom of his Reynoldsburg home on May 25. He was pronounced dead a short time later.
Reynoldsburg Police Department Lt. Ron Wright said the department is still investigating, but evidence shows the drugs were possibly evidence in other cases.
Wright said it appears Hughes took the drugs himself from the evidence room.
"There was packaging that indicated that he was taking controlled substances from there," he said.
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An autopsy was conducted by the Franklin County Coroner's Office and results released July 13 indicated Hughes died of an "acute intoxication by fentanyl."
Records from the coroner's office indicate two syringes were recovered and tested for the presence of substances which may have contributed to Hughes' death.
One syringe had no drugs in it, the other was positive for fentanyl. A plastic sandwich bag found at the scene tested positive for cocaine and a third syringe containing a liquid was determined to be positive for fentanyl.
Hughes was named police chief on March 13 during a two-minute special village council meeting. His hiring came less than a week after the prior chief, Jeff Finley, had unexpectedly resigned, citing irreconcilable differences with Kirkersville Mayor Terry Ashcraft.
Prior to Hughes' death, the village had been planning to increase his weekly schedule from 20 hours to 32 hours. He was making $14 an hour at the time of his death.
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