The Daily Hearld,
BYLINE: Diana Hefley, Herald Writer
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Snohomish County, WA

Envelope an investigator handled missing evidence seized in probes

EVERETT -- A master investigator with the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office resigned last week amid allegations that he stole drugs that were seized as part of death investigations.

Sheriff's detectives recently forwarded the case to the Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office for possible criminal charges, including drug possession and official misconduct.

The man, 35, has not been arrested.

The allegations surfaced in March after the man requested a six-week leave of absence. He declined to tell his supervisor why he needed the time off. The medical examiner's office later received paperwork from a doctor in California indicating that the man was being treated for a substance-abuse problem, according to police records.

A short time later employees in the office conducted an inventory of controlled drugs that had been seized during different cases. They discovered that an evidence envelope that the man was supposed to deliver to the sheriff's office for destruction had been opened and resealed, according to a police affidavit.

Evidence logs showed that 21 drugs in various quantities were missing from the envelope, according to police.

Detectives also discovered that evidence forms had been forged and additional drugs had been removed from evidence envelopes slated for destruction, according to the records.

Sheriff's detectives called the man at the end of March. He agreed to meet with them when he returned from California. He was placed on administrative leave April 4.

The man and his attorney later met with detectives. He declined to provide a statement to police.

He resigned April 15. He'd been with the office since 2005 and made about $71,000 a year.

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Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; .

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