Narconon deaths under investigation by ME, sheriff
By JEANNE LEFLORE STAFF WRITER
“They (Narconon) told us, ‘We can fix him.’” SHIRLEY GRAVES Mother of Gabriel Graves, who died at Narconon Arrowhead in October
Two people have died in the last six months at Narconon Arrowhead, also the subject of an earlier lawsuit and an ongoing investigation into recent deaths at the facility.
Narconon Arrowhead in Canadian is a non-profit drug and alcohol rehabilitation center.
Hillary Holten, 21, and Gabriel Graves, 32, were found dead at Narconon Arrowhead within the last six months, according a from Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Department.
On April 11, Holten, of Carrolton Texas, was found dead at about 4 a.m. in her room at Narconon, according to the report. She had been staying at the facility for less than two days when she was found face down on her bed.
Less than six months earlier, in October, the body of Graves, of Kingfisher, was also found in his bed at the facility, according to a police report. He had been at Narconon months.
His mother, Shirley Graves, said her son was very intelligent and loving. “My son is beautiful and I miss him,” she said.
She said Narconon representatives told her they could help her son. “They told us, ‘We can fix him,’” she said.
Police were called to his room at about 11 a.m. after Graves’ roommate found him in the same position in his bed at 8 a.m. as he had been at 1 that morning.
He was declared dead at 11:15 a.m., according to the report.
Graves’ case is still under investigation, according to Annette Riley of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Oklahoma City.
No charges have been filed in either case, according to Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns. “We don’t file charges until we are notified the by medical examiner’s office,” Kerns said.
Last year, Narconon Arrowhead settled a lawsuit filed by the parents of Kaysie Dianne Werninck, 28, of St. Augustine, Fla.
The lawsuit alleged she died as a result of gross negligence after she became seriously ill with an upper respiratory infection while at Narconon Arrowhead. The lawsuit, filed in Pittsburg County District Court, alleged she also died because of the lack of sufficient training of the staff at the facility and that she was
Partly denied outside medical attention and prescription medication.
Narconon International recently closed a facility in Canada, according to CBCnews.ca.
On April 13, the Narconon facility in Quebec closed after Marc Latour, a regional health agency director in Quebec, said he had no choice but to shut down the Scientology-based rehabilitation center in Three Rivers, according to Canadian newspaper cbc.ca.
Narconon Arrowhead and Narconon Three Rivers in Quebec are among of dozens of similar centers around the world where detoxification treatment is inspired by the teachings of the Church of Scientology.
At Narconon International, no one was available for comment, according to Cheryl Crawford, secretary for Narconon International President Clark Carr.
Gary Smith, director of Narconon Arrowhead, said he could not comment on the recent deaths due to federal laws. But he did say the facility is in full operation.
“As far as Narconon Arrowhead and its operation in Oklahoma is concerned, the center is legally operating and will continue to do so far into the future,” said Smith said. “Narconon Arrowhead has met or exceeded all legal and program certification guidelines set forth by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse and the State of Oklahoma. Additionally the Narconon Arrowhead program is accredited through the internationally recognized accreditation CARF and has been consecutively since 1992.”
The families of Holten and Werninck could not be reached for comment. Contact Jeanne Leflore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Very sad.. beautiful girl.. 2 years out of high school.
There are interesting court documents you can read in the lawsuit that was filed against Narconon by the Werninck family after the death of their daughter, Kaysie...
Narconon filed a 4-page Motion to Dismiss the case; Werninck's attorneys filed an eloquent 92-page response. No wonder the cult felt cornered and settled the case.