Authorities to exhume body in nursing home case

Saturday, April 27, 2002

SEDALIA, Mo. -- Authorities plan to exhume the body of a woman they say died at a nursing home after being given two doses of a drug that an impostor had illegally ordered in her name.

Lafayette County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Rolf on Thursday ordered that Nancy Dugent's body be exhumed from the Higginsville Cemetery in Lafayette County.

Pettis County Coroner Fred Biggs called the circumstances surrounding Dugent's death on April 10 suspicious and possibly criminal, according to Lafayette County court records.

A joint petition filed by Pettis County Assistant Prosecutor Bill Chapman and Lafayette County Prosecutor W. Page Bellamy said police are trying to determine whether the administration of the medication contributed to her death.

Dugent, 58, suffered from a liver problem and other maladies. She died after receiving two doses of hydrocodone, a painkilling narcotic not intended to be used by people with liver disorders, court papers say. Someone pretending to be from the Dialysis Center, where Dugent was a patient, used her name to illegally order the drugs from a pharmacy, police have said.

When the female impostor tried to pick the drugs up, she was told by an employee at the Medical Center Pharmacy that Dugent's drugs were normally delivered to her nursing home. The impostor then instructed the pharmacy to make the delivery, according to reports.

The drug was delivered to Rest Haven April 8.

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