Charges tied to former Los Angeles Angels player Tyler Skaggs’ tragic overdose death have been made against a former team employee.
Eric Kay previously served as the Angels’ director of communications. The 45-year-old has been indicted in regards to the conspiracy to distribute a mixture that contained detectable amounts of fentanyl, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox announced on Friday, August 7.
On Friday morning, Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and later appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton. If convicted of the crime, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
Skaggs was found dead in a Texas hotel on July 1, 2019. He was set to originally play alongside his teammates in a game against the Texas Rangers, but the game was ultimately postponed. He was 27.
In a toxicology report obtained by Us Weekly at the time, Texas’ Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office revealed that Skaggs died from a combination of alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone. The report also stated that the athlete suffered from “terminal aspiration of gastric contents,” meaning that he gagged on his own vomit. His death was ruled an accident.
After the toxicology report was released, Skaggs’ family said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that this “is completely out of character for someone who worked so hard to become a Major League Baseball player and had a very promising future in the game he loved so much.” The family additionally expressed how “shocked” they were to have learned that Skaggs’ death “may involve” an Angels employee.
“We will not rest until we learn the truth about how Tyler came into possession of these narcotics, including who supplied them,” the statement continued. “To that end, we have hired attorney Rusty Hardin to assist us.”
The criminal complaint, which was filed last week and unsealed on Friday, claimed that Kay allegedly told a coworker that he visited Skaggs’ hotel room on the night of his death. The Drug Enforcement Administration also discovered that Kay allegedly dealt pills to Skaggs and others on a regular basis.
In the wake of the latest findings, the Los Angeles Angels released a statement on Friday via social media. “It has been more than a year since the tragic passing of Tyler Skaggs, and all of us affected by this loss continue to grieve,” the note read. “The circumstances surrounding his death are a tragedy that has impacted countless individuals and families. The Angels Organization has fully cooperated 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 continued, “We learned that there was unacceptable behavior 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. As we try to heal from the loss of Tyler, we continue to work with authorities as they complete their investigation.”
Us Weekly reached out to Skaggs’ rep for comment.
For those who are or know someone struggling with substance abuse, please call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
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