MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

August 20, 2012

Discovery claimed in Narconon deaths

— McALESTER — An attorney for the families of two people found dead at Narconon Arrowhead says he’s found items listed on an autopsy report that should be part of the investigation. The attorney, Gary Richardson of Tulsa, said the list included a “pillow with a substance on it.”

“It would be my thought that the investigators would be chasing down these items,” he said.

Richardson, a former United States attorney and a former Tulsa district attorney, said he’s representing the families of Stacy Dawn Murphy and Gabriel Graves.

Narconon Arrowhead is a nonprofit drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Canadian affiliated with the Church of Scientology. Narconon has been under investigation since the July 19 death of Murphy, 20, of Owasso.

The investigation has expanded to include three other deaths: Hillary Holten, 21, of Carr, who was found dead at Narconon Arrowhead in April; Graves, 32, who died at the facility in October; and the 2009 death of Kaysie Dianne Werninck, 28, according to Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns.

Richardson said he found what he called disturbing information, including possible evidence listed on the state medical examiner’s report.

He said the two items listed on the ME report were handed to Graves’ mother by the funeral home director. “She still has them in storage,” Richardson said. “This needs to be part of the investigation.”

Kerns said Friday afternoon that he was sending his investigator to collect the pillow and another item.

“We are working closely with DA’s office and they asked us today to get the items,” he said.

The items weren’t collected at the time because they weren’t pertinent to the investigation, he said.

Richardson said he had also interviewed several former students of Narconon Arrowhead.

“I’m finding the stories they tell to be extremely disturbing and very similar,” he  said.

District 18 District Attorney Richard Hull said Friday that before deciding on criminal charges, the DA’s office is waiting on a final report from the Pittsburg County Sheriffs Department, the toxicological and autopsy reports and reports from other state agencies also looking into the case.

Jeanne LeFlore writes for the McAlester News-Capital.

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