Health care worker accused of stealing pills

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(News release)- ​A home health care worker has been accused of stealing a patient’s hydrocodone tablets and substituting them with acetaminophen tablets. 

Kerrina Elliott, 43, of Smithville Missouri, has been charged in Platte County with stealing, elderly abuse, and possession of methamphetamine.

Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said the charges were filed on March 14, 2017 following an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Platte County Sheriff’s Department.

According to court documents, authorities were contacted in January when caregivers of a 95-year-old woman noticed that her hydrocodone tablets had been replaced with 500 mg acetaminophen tablets.

The elderly woman is receiving hospice services and requires constant care.  Caregivers become concerned when the woman became ill when given her medications.

On February 16, an FDA investigator installed a hidden camera in the woman’s kitchen with the approval of her caregiver. On March 1, the caregiver contacted investigators to report that four hydrocodone tablets prescribed to the woman were missing from a locked prescription box in the kitchen.

Investigators determined Elliott worked at the woman’s residence during this time frame but would have no reason to access the locked prescription box. Elliott was not to administer medications under her work contract; instead, her job duties consisted of cleaning, personal care, cooking, and laundry services.  However, video footage allegedly shows Elliott accessing the locked prescription box twice in a secretive manner.

On March 13, Platte County deputies stopped Elliott for traffic violations.  She consented to a search of her vehicle.  Deputies found a small bag of crystal substance and a hollow pen inside her purse. A field test of the crystal substance allegedly indicated it was methamphetamine.

Because prosecutors have charged Elliott as a prior and persistent felony offender, she faces up to 10 years in prison on each of the stealing and possession charges. She faces up to a year in jail for elder abuse.  She remains in custody in the Platte County Detention Center in lieu of a $25,000 cash bond.

The case against Elliott is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Miranda Loesch.

The charges against Elliott are merely allegations, and she is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.