Employee charged over sport star’s death
An employee of American baseball franchise the Los Angeles Angels has been charged in connection to the death of former pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
The Angels' former communications director Eric Prescott Kay faces 20 years in prison if found guilty of conspiracy to distribute fentanyl, a powerful opiod.
Ex-Angels player Skaggs died aged 27 last year after overdosing on what medical examiners determined was a mixture of fentanyl, alcohol and oxycodone. He was found dead in a Texas hotel room after choking on the contents of his stomach.
His death occurred just hours before the Angels' scheduled game against the Texas Rangers.
It is alleged Kay supplied Skaggs with the fentanyl that contributed to his death.
According to US media reports, Kay turned himself in to authorities today (AEDT) as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continues its investigation.
The DEA reportedly uncovered text messages on Skaggs' phone between himself and Kay hours before his death, which suggest he asked Kay to bring him pills.
The Angles released a statement after Kay was charged, saying it had also commissioned an independent investigation in relation to Skaggs' death.
"The Angels Organisation has fully co-operated with Law Enforcement and Major League Baseball. Additionally, in order to comprehensively understand the circumstances that led to his death, we hired a former federal prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation," the statement read.
"We learned that there was unacceptable behaviour inconsistent with our code of conduct, and we took steps to address it.
"Our investigation also confirmed that no one in management was aware, or informed, of any employee providing opioids to any player, nor that Tyler was using opioids."
Lawyer Rusty Hardin, who is representing the Skaggs family, also issued a statement.
"The family is deeply heartbroken to learn that Tyler would be alive today were it not for a pill containing fentanyl that was provided by the Director of Communications of the Angels," Hardin said.
"We are relieved that no one else who was supplied drugs by this Angels executive met the same fate as Tyler. While nothing will replace the loss of Tyler, we are very grateful to federal prosecutors for their diligent and ongoing work."
Originally published as Employee charged over US star's death