MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

October 6, 2012

Suits pending in Narconon deaths

— An attorney for the families of two patients found dead at Narconon Arrowhead says lawsuits against the facility could be filed next week. Meanwhile, officials await autopsy reports in an investigation into four known deaths tied to the Scientology-based facility.

Narconon Arrowhead is a national nonprofit drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Canadian.

The facility has been under investigation by Pittsburg County officials, the District 18 District Attorney’s office, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health since July when 20-year-old Stacy Murphy was found dead while a patient.

On Thursday, attorney Gary Richardson said lawsuits against the facility could be filed as soon as next week. Richardson represents the families of two Narconon Arrowhead patients, Murphy and Gabriel Graves, who were found dead at Narconon Arrowhead.

Narconon officials have declined comment in the deaths beyond expressing sympathy for the families involved.

In July, Murphy’s death caused officials to take a closer look into the deaths of two others who died while patients of the facility in a span of less than a year.

From October 2011 until July 2012, three people were found dead at the Narconon Arrowhead.

According to police reports in October 2011, the body of Graves, 32, was found dead in his bed. In April, Hillary Holten, 21, was found dead face down in her bed. Murphy was also found dead at the Narconon facility in July.

 Officials are also looking into the 2009 death of Kaysie Dianne Werninck, 28, who died while admitted as a Narconon patient.

Jeanne LeFlore is a writer for the McAlester News-Capital.

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