Police say Stillwater hospice worker allegedly stole from dying patients

STILLWATER, Okla. - A former nursing home employee was arrested after a friend allegedly turned her in for trying to sell drugs stolen from her patients.

"It kind of makes you mad that someone would do that," said Stillwater Police Capt. Kyle Gibbs. "I think that may have been the reason the C.I. came forward in the first place."

The C.I., or criminal informant, told police that Danelle Lee tried to sell them two syringes loaded with morphine.

"She admitted that she had taken it from a local nursing home where she was a medication administration technician," Capt. Gibbs said.

When police arrested her, she allegedly admitted to also stealing Norco pills, a type of Oxycodone, from a different patient but claimed the thefts were accidental.

The woman told police she stuck the medications in her pocket but when she went to give them to the patients, they were asleep.

She told police that later when she realized she still had the drugs, she decided to sell them for extra cash.

"That's the story that she told the investigator," Capt. Gibbs said. "At the end of the day, she still stole the medication."

Both victims were 86 years old, on their death bed at the Brookdale Assisted Living Facility. One of them has since died.

That woman's doctors told investigators that missing the morphine shots didn't contribute to her death. However, it did make her final days more difficult.

"She was in quite a bit of pain given her advanced stage of cancer," Capt. Gibbs said.

He said he believes the elderly woman likely knew she wasn't getting her medication but didn't report it.

"Unfortunately, and we don`t know this for sure, they may have just been in that generation when you don't talk about or you don't question a nurse or a doctor, or medical person," Capt. Gibbs said. "It's just not done."

In a statement, a spokesperson for Brookdale Assisted Living Facility said,

“We take these situations very seriously as the safety of our residents is our top priority. Our company has strict standards in place, including background checks, compliance with state rules and regulations, and ongoing training for employees. When we were informed of the associate arrest, we immediately terminated her employment. We worked with police and provided assistance when needed.”

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