December 9, 2022
Two Macomb County employees were fired after allegedly stealing drugs from the medical examiner's office, county officials announced at a news conference Friday.
Morgue employees often take medicine found at a crime scene to compare it to the result of a toxicology report, said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.
The employees, a 50-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman, allegedly took some drugs instead of properly disposing of them, said Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham.
Hackel said they do not believe the employees were working together, but were aware of what the other was doing. One likely took the drugs and another likely attempted to sell them, the officials said.
Hackel and Wickersham declined to provide the specific kind of drug, the amount that was taken or when it happened. The investigation has been going on for a "few months."
They did note a separate incident where 20 hydrocodone pills went missing from the evidence room, but said they do not know who took them.
Throughout the investigation, the sheriff's office interviewed all 19 employees who had access to the property room, Wickersham said. And to prevent this from happening again, the sheriff's office will take custody of medical inventory going forward because they have a better inventory process.
This is the second time in three years the medical examiner's office has come under fire. In 2020, three employees were fired after alleged sexist and racist behavior, including a penis cake that showed up at the office the day after George Floyd's death.
After the public controversy, Macomb County added new provisions to its contract with Chief Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz, who has held the position since 2004. The new contract includes an opt-out with a 90-day notice, Hackel said, and it gives the county more control over contracted work.
"We needed more control over what's going on with managing the facility, employees that are over there," Hackel said. "So what we decided to do was come up with more stringent protocols in place for us to have oversight ... to give us access to understanding more of what was being done over there, (this evidence room) was one of those areas that kind of came out as being problematic."
Contact Emma Stein: and follow her on Twitter @_emmastein.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: 2 Macomb County medical examiner employees fired for stealing drugs
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