The body of a teenage girl found in a Texas park is the stepdaughter of a doctor recently charged in at least seven overdose deaths, police said.
The medical examiner identified a body found floating in a creek at Blair Park on Sunday as 17-year-old Mikayla Mitchell, Dallas Police told WFAA.
Her stepfather, Howard Diamond, was arrested earlier this month on charges including conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and health care fraud.
The 56-year-old doctor in 2010 allegedly began issuing prescriptions for drugs — including fentanyl, hydrocodone and morphine — without any legitimate medical cause, according to an indictment cited by CBS News. The unnecessary prescriptions contributed to the deaths of at least seven people over a four-year period, prosecutors alleged.
While the doctor was based in Sherman, authorities said the overdoses occurred in cities across Texas including Abilene, McKinney and Sulphur Springs as well as the Oklahoma cities of Ardmore, Hugo, Idabel and Yukon.
In each of the seven cases, the person died within a month of filling a prescription issued by Diamond, the news station reported.
In May 2013, a person filled a prescription for methadone and was dead two days later. A woman the following summer filled her prescription for alprazolam, morphine, oxycodone and zolpidem and died 10 days later, according to the indictment.
Howard’s attorney, Pete Schulte, blasted claims that the death of Mitchell and his client’s current legal trouble are in any way connected with a tweet on Tuesday.
“Media is ruthless. There is no connection between my client Dr. Diamonds’ charges & his step-daughters death,” he wrote.
Schulte added Howard was “devastated” and that his client is hoping a judge will approve a release so that he may be with his wife and family amid the tragedy.
Detectives are investigating Mitchell’s death as a homicide, and CrimeStoppers is offering a $ 5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and indictment.