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Jailer’s case may go to grand jury

The Marietta Times,
BYLINE: Brad Bauer,

Washington County, OH

Charges could be filed against a former Washington County Jail administrator, following an investigation into missing medication at the jail and a recommendation of charges later forwarded to the county prosecutor's office.

Former sheriff's Capt. Dean Ketelsen, a 26-year veteran officer, was placed on leave Dec. 15 after an audit revealed as many as 1,400 pain killers could not be accounted for. He resigned Jan. 28, asking to keep his commission.

Sheriff Larry Mincks said the resignation did not stop the investigation into the missing Tramadol, a non-narcotic prescription drug, from continuing. He said Ketelsen's commission as an officer was revoked as a result of the ongoing investigation.

"We had conducted an audit and over a two-year period we found something like 1,400 pills were missing during that time. After an investigation we sent a grand jury brief to the prosecutor's office," Mincks said. "The mere fact that we did that means we recommend certain charges. At this point it is up to the prosecutor to review the case and decide if it will be presented to a grand jury."

Mincks declined to say what charges were recommended. He said any charges should be left to the prosecutor and a grand jury to decide.

Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider said he did receive the file but that he has not reviewed the case.

"Of course I've had an opportunity to review it ... I've got files that are brought into this office every day from the sheriff's office, Marietta (Police Department), Belpre (Police Department) and the (Ohio) highway patrol," Schneider said. "There are 400 files here and I've had an opportunity to review them all. But just because a file is brought here doesn't mean I review it immediately."

Mincks said the Ketelsen case would have been delivered to the prosecutor's office about six weeks ago.

The investigation did not include a search of Ketelsen's residence and exactly what happened is "not clear cut," according to Mincks.

"There were no searches of his home just because there was nothing there to lead us to believe there would be any items there pertaining to what we were looking for," Mincks said.

A phone number for Ketelsen could not be located Tuesday.

Mincks said he did not want to discuss specifics of the case.

"We conducted an investigation and we sent that to the prosecutor," he said. "It is my opinion that this needs to go before a grand jury to let them decide if a violation of any kind occurred. It's not a clear cut matter."

Mincks said the jail contracts with a company to bring drugs to the jail when inmates are issued prescriptions while incarcerated. When an inmate leaves the facility, the company comes back and takes possession of any unused drugs. It is some of those drugs that were destined for disposal that have come into question.

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