A policeman identified as James Hughes Jr., who removed drugs from his department’s evidence room, has reportedly died from an accidental fentanyl overdose.
Autopsy report revealed that the Ohio police chief who was found unresponsive in his home on May 25 and pronounced dead shortly after, died from acute intoxication by fentanyl. Reynoldsburg Police Department Lt. Ron Wright, whose department is heading up the investigation into the case, told the Newark Advocate that the drugs Hughes was taking were evidence in other cases.
“There was packaging that indicated that he was taking controlled substances from there,” he said, indicating that the chief had overdosed on drugs taken from the evidence locker.
An autopsy was carried out on July 13 and it found that Hughes had died of an “acute intoxication by fentanyl.”
The late policeman was only on the job a few months before he overdosed.
“He was hired in March and wasn’t here that long, but he kept me informed [about] what was going on,” Kirkersville Mayor Terry Ashcraft told the Newark Advocate after Hughes’ death. “A lot of stuff goes on in this town, and he’d come and done his job and never had a complaint on him.”
According to police, they originally investigated who sold Hughes the drugs so they could charge that person. However, once they realized he’d stolen the drugs from the evidence locker himself, there was no one to charge in his death.
Wright told the Advocate that he plans on handing over the case to state officials in the next few weeks.
“It’s kind of gone beyond our level. You’re talking about another agency’s property room,” he said. “We think the state should probably intervene.”
Wright implied that other officers in the department could’ve possibly had access to and taken things from the evidence locker as well.
“There appeared to be some practices happening out there that probably someone from the state AG’s office should probably look into,” he said
A GoFundme account has been set up to help the family of the 35-year-old policeman who left behind a wife and three young children.