BURLINGTON, Ind. (WLFI) - Four doctors and five other employees at Wagoner Medical Center in Burlington and Kokomo were arrested Friday in relation to 24 patient deaths in the past several years.
Warrants were issued by the Howard County Prosecutor and the arrests were made by Kokomo police.
Below are summaries of the charges, but if you want to see the compelling probable cause affidavit for the case, you can find it here.
You may remember, back in February the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) raided the Burlington location of the clinic.
The Indiana Attorney General's Office then filed an emergency license suspension against the four doctors arrested: Dr. Don Wagoner, Dr. Marilyn Wagoner, Dr. Robert Brewer and Dr. William Terpstra.
The attorney general's office says the four were over-prescribing medication to their patients, 14 of whom are listed in a petition against the clinic.
You can find detailed information about those patients' circumstances in our story published last month when the doctors' licenses were first suspended.
Friday it was announced by the Howard County Courthouse that a total of 95 felony charges were filed against nine employees of Wagoner Medical Center.
According to court documents, Howard County law enforcement authorities noticed a large amount of prescription pills being prescribed as far back as May of 2009.
According to court documents, a former Wagoner employee, as well as several Wagoner patients, told investigators the clinic was the "place to go" to get narcotics.
Physicians assistants are not allowed to sign prescriptions, however, court documents show that on the days both doctors were out of the office, they would leave pre-signed prescriptions on their desk for their assistants to give out.
Last November, investigators visited 10 pharmacies in the Kokomo area and say five pharmacists expressed concern about the over prescribing of medication coming from the clinic.
In fact, one pharmacist told investigators the amount of narcotics prescribed to some patients was the amount of narcotics a terminal cancer patient would receive.
Court documents show people traveled from as far as Warsaw, Indiana, which is about
67 miles northeast of Kokomo.
There is also documentation that shows at least five patients were coming in from Lafayette.
Four doctors and three physician assistants were charged with dealing in narcotic drugs, dealing in schedule-3 controlled substances and dealing in schedule-4 controlled substances.
Two other employees were also charged, with conspiracy to deal in narcotic drugs, conspiracy to deal schedule-3 controlled substances and conspiracy to deal in schedule-4 controlled substances.
Dr. Don Wagoner was charged with three Class A felonies, five Class B felonies and five Class C felonies. He also was charged with felony counts of conspiracy to commit dealing in a narcotic drug and controlled substances – and his total amount of charges comes to 20 felony counts.
Dr. Marilyn Wagoner faces a variety of charges as well, making her felony-charge count 19.
Dr. Terpstra received the most felony charges at 24 counts.
And Dr. Brewer was charged with two felony counts.
The following employees were also charged with various felonies: physician assistants Gary Hartman, Thomas Hewitt and John Thomas; nurse Linda Richards; and office manager Michelle Wagoner.
Judge William Menges, Jr., of Howard County Superior Court 1, found probable cause for the arrests of these employees and set bonds as follows:
• Dr. Don Wagoner: $1 million, cash only, no 10 percent, no bondsman
• Dr. Marilyn Wagoner: $1 million, cash only, no 10 percent, no bondsman
• Dr. William Terpstra: $1 million, cash only, no 10 percent, no bondsman
• Dr. Robert Brewer: $75,000 with 10 percent allowed
• Gary Hartman: $75,000, cash only, no 10 percent, no bondsman
• Thomas Hewitt: $75,000, cash only, no 10 percent, no bondsman
• John Thomas: $75,000, cash only, no 10 percent, no bondsman
• Linda Richards: $75,000 with 10 percent allowed
• Michelle Wagoner: $75,000 with 10 percent allowed
We will report as more information as it becomes available.
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