2 Macomb County Medical Examiner's Office workers fired for stealing drugs

Two Macomb County employees have been fired and could face criminal charges for allegedly stealing drugs out of the medical examiner’s property room, where they both worked.

Investigators say the 32-year-old woman and 50-year-old man both started at the examiner’s office around the same time two years ago.

"We don’t turn a blind eye to any issue that’s happening in the county," said Executive Mark Hackel. "If somebody’s doing something inappropriate or wrong we will address that issue."

Hackel said the medical examiner’s office had drugs so it could compare it to medication found in toxicology reports.

"These drugs are mostly prescribed medication that if somebody is deceased, the medical examiner will take control of that," he said. "(It) does not involve the illicit drugs that are out there.

"One of them at least was a little bit more forthcoming than the other, with information."

Over the past month or so, Hackel says tips have piled in of suspicious behavior at the medical examiner's office, resulting in a deeper dive into the way things are operating - especially as it relates to access to evidence.

"How are we signing it out, how do we know it’s going someplace," Hackel said. "Are there a couple of people - are there people checking each other, that (the drugs) are actually being destroyed? Part of the problem we realize, was that the access for people to this, might be a temptation for them - and it is inappropriate at best."

Now, the county and the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office are working together to tighten practices and protocols - starting with limiting access to evidence.

"Nineteen people had access to it, that’s not a good policy to have in an evidence room," Sheriff Anthony Wickersham said.

According to the sheriff, everyone with access was questioned.

"During those interviews of the 19 employees, two of those employees made admissions as to taking narcotics that was going for disposal," Wickersham said. "We looked into their lives outside of Macomb County employment, also."

As the investigation continues, the county says for the sake of precaution, evidence will now be managed and secured by the sheriff’s office until cases are closed.