4:23 PM
Daniel Verl Cox (mug shot WCSO)

Charges have been filed against the uncle of a Marshfield teen who died after he allegedly provided pain pills to 18 year-old Dwight Adam Stewart last May.

Webster County Prosecutor Danette Padgett filed involuntary manslaughter and distribution of a controlled substance charges against Daniel Verl Cox, 26, of Marshfield late this afternoon (07-21-10.)

Cox was originally arrested on probable cause within a few days of Stewart's death, but was released within 24 hours because Padgett was waiting on investigative reports before filing formal charges.

In the probable cause statement, Cox told Detective Rick Hamilton that he and Stewart got two pills from a man they picked up and had given a ride to near Marshfield. He said the pills looked like Ibuprofen.

Dwight Adam Stewart (family photo)

Three days after Stewart's death, Cox told investigators that the pills were oxymorphine, “Daniel said he, himself bit into one pill and spit it out. Daniel said he felt effects from it by just biting into it,” Hamilton wrote.

The statement goes on to say that Stewart and Cox went to the home of some friends, who are brothers, to "smoke weed." Jared and Jayson Vancolkenburg told Deputy Lee that Cox had provided drugs and alcohol to Stewart in the past...one of them told the deputy they believe Cox "is responsible for Stewart’s death."

Jayson Vancolkenburg told investigators that Stewart was pale that night. He said Stewart could not stay awake and went outside to "throw up." He said that Stewart later vomited in the bathroom.

According to Cox, he and Stewart then went to his home on Greer Creek Road north of Marshfield and played video games until about 2:00 a.m. When Debbie Cox tried to wake her grandson up about noon he was unresponsive and she called 9-1-1. She told Deputy Lee her son left the house before authorities arrived.

Autopsy results show that Stewart was probably dead for about 12 hours before his aunt attempted to wake him up. The cause of Stewart's death was a combination of him choking on his own vomit and lack of oxygen to the brain acerbated by alcohol.

When Cox was re-interviewed by Hamilton on June 20th, Cox admitted giving, Stewart, as well as other people, drugs in the past, but that “he didn’t realize how serious this is until something bad like this happens,” and that he didn't think that the pill he gave Stewart would kill him.

Stewart's death has hit family and friends hard. Just two years ago his father was killed in an alcohol related crash. Dwight would have graduated from high school this summer after completing some summer courses.

Padgett says people need to realize that providing drugs to someone "Can drastically change their life. If you have a neighbor who has a back ache after working outside all day and you give them hydrocodone and they die, you'll be prosecuted. The involuntary manslaughter charges actually carries less time on it than the distribution charge. It's kind of backwards in my opinion."


jenifer m said...

Daniel Cox did not give his nephew that pill and the charges were dropped just so everyone knows the real story!