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Former Angels PR Director Charged in Skaggs Death
By Lookout Staff
August 7, 2020 -- The former public relations director for the Los Angeles Angels has been charged with distributing the drug that killed pitcher Tyler Skaggs last July.
Eric Kay, 45 surrendered to federal authorities in Texas on Friday and was charged with conspiracy to distribute a mixture containing detectable amounts of fentanyl, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Dallas.
The complaint, which was filed July 30, was unsealed Friday when Kay was arrested in Forth Worth, Texas. He made his initial appearance before a federal judge that morning.
Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, announced the arrest and charges at a news conference Friday.
"Tyler Skaggs’ death, coming as it did in the midst of an ascendant baseball career, should be a wake-up call,” Cox said.
“It should prove to his many, many fans that no one is immune from the deadly addictive nature of these drugs, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet.”
Skaggs, 27, was pronounced dead after being found unresponsive in his room at the Hilton Hotel in Southlake, Texas, July 1 ("Angels Pitcher, Former Samohi Star Found Dead at Age 27," July 2, 2019).
An autopsy conducted by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office showed that Skaggs, a former Santa Monica High School star, had died of an accidental overdose.
Skaggs had fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system when he choked on his vomit after overdosing in his hotel room ("Skaggs Died of Accidental Overdose, Texas Autopsy Finds," August 30, 2019).
After the autopsy results were revealed, the family announced it had hired an attorney to investigate how Skaggs obtained the dangerous drugs.
In October, Kay said he had supplied Skaggs with oxycodone for years but didn't believe it was his pills that killed the pitcher ("Angels Employee Supplied Skaggs, Other Players with Opiates," October 14, 2019).
On Friday, Skaggs family attorney Rusty Hardin said his clients were “deeply heartbroken to learn that Tyler would be alive today if not for a pill containing fentanyl” allegedly provided by Kay.
“We are relieved that no one else who was supplied drugs by this Angels executive met the same fate as Tyler,” the statement said.
“While nothing will replace the loss of Tyler, we are very grateful to federal prosecutors for their diligent and ongoing work.”
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