Wed, 30 Sep 2020

Ex-Angels employee charged in Skaggs' death

Field Level Media
08 Aug 2020, 05:40 GMT+10

A former Los Angeles Angels employee is facing federal charges in connection with the 2019 overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Eric Kay, who worked in the club's public relations department for 24 years, was charged Friday with illegal possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, according to a criminal complaint filed by Geoffrey Lindenberg, a special agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Skaggs was 27 when he died July 1, 2019 in his hotel room in Southlake, Texas. The Angels were in town to play the Texas Rangers, and an autopsy later showed he died of aspiration and had a combination of oxycodone, fentanyl and alcohol in his system.

The Los Angeles Times reported last fall that the DEA had interviewed at least six of Skaggs' teammates. Additionally, Kay, who was director of communications at the time, told authorities he gave Skaggs half of the six oxycodone pills he had obtained illegally, ESPN reported in October.

"It was later determined that but for the fentanyl in [Skaggs'] system, [Skaggs] would not have died," the affidavit written by Lindenberg said. He added that Kay and Skaggs "had a history of narcotic transactions."

Kay left the Angels shortly after Skaggs died.

The team issued a statement Friday to address the development.

"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 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.

"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."

--Field Level Media

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