The police chief of tiny Ohio village fatally overdosed on drugs he stole from his department’s evidence room, authorities believe.
Investigators found packages of fentanyl, heroin and LSD in the home of Kirkersville Police Chief James Hughes Jr. after he was found not breathing in a bathroom, Lt. Ron Wright of the nearby Reynoldsburg Police Department said, according to a local NBC station.
All signs suggest the drugs had been previously seized by cops and stored in the Kirkersville Police Department’s evidence room, Wright said.
“There was packaging that indicated that he was taking controlled substances from there,” he said Wednesday.
Hughes, 35, was pronounced dead shortly after an ambulance crew responded to his home in Reynoldsburg around 11 a.m. on May 25.
In addition to the illegal drugs, cops found three syringes, one of which contained fentanyl and one of which had traces of the powerful opioid.
An autopsy released last month said he died accidentally of “acute intoxication by fentanyl.”
Hughes was named the part-time, $14-a-hour chief of Kirkersville’s police force in March, replacing ex-Chief Jeff Finley, who abruptly resigned over conflicts with Mayor Terry Ashcraft.
An investigation by the Newark (Ohio) Advocate newspaper later revealed Hughes had a checkered past that included allegations of a relationship with a woman who served time at the Fairfield County Jail in Ohio while he worked for the county sheriff’s office.
He also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in a June 2, 2013, incident during he used racial slurs and spit at a worker in the drive-through window at a fast-foot restaurant in Whitehall, Ohio, according to USA Today.
Following Hughes’ death, his wife, Amanda — with whom he was raising three young children — created a “GoFundMe” page to raise $12,000 for funeral expenses, but less than $1,000 has been donated.
By BRUCE GOLDING