A 27-year-old Grover Beach man wrote in a text message that he gave the drug methadone to his teenage half sister, who was found dead in May, because he wanted to help her deal with depression, according to a Sheriff’s Office report.
But when he talked to detectives, Theo Evan Macey denied that he gave the drug to his half sister, who was found dead May 25 at the Nipomo residence where Macey was staying with his girlfriend, Cariann Gardner.
Macey has pleaded not guilty to the charge of furnishing a drug to a minor. A preliminary hearing to determine if prosecutors have enough evidence to warrant a trial is scheduled for Dec. 1 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.
“I do not for one second believe that Theo Macey is guilty of the charge,” said Ilan Funke-Bilu, Macey’s attorney. “His sister treated my client as a hero. They had an extremely close relationship.”
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According to the Sheriff’s Office, the 17-year-old girl from Arroyo Grande died of a multiple drug overdose at a home on Amado Street. The department said she had a combination of prescription drugs and methadone in her body.
The girl had been depressed over a falling out with a boyfriend and had been planning to break up, according to the report.
Methadone is a drug often used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in heroin addicts.
“Gardner and Theo Macey are both methadone users,” the report states. “The decedent had a history of drug use as well as alcohol.”
Investigators cited a text message that Macey allegedly sent to another sister. The text states the following: “Oh yeah, and evil murdering Cari (Gardner) gave her 32 mg right? Nope. Dr even said he made a mistake, and for your info I am the one that said yes and gave her a drop since she was so depressed and I wanted her to have a good sleep and it wasn’t the methadone that killed her. It was a mix of all the different drugs she was on and how her body was deteriorating.”
Macey later denied to authorities that he gave his half sister the methadone.
According to the report, Macey claimed he sent the message to protect his girlfriend from being blamed by his family for the death.
The investigation lasted several months because detectives needed enough evidence for probable cause in order to arrest Macey, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Funke-Bilu said that he hasn’t seen documented evidence of the cause of death as he prepares to defend his client and can’t be sure how she died.
According to the report, Gardner said she kept methadone at the residence in a locked black box in a cupboard. She and Macey both knew where the key was kept, she told authorities.
Sheriff’s investigators learned that Macey received dosages of methadone at a clinic as well, but didn’t take a supply home.
After spending the night with Macey and Gardner and their 4-year-old daughter in their home, the teenage girl was found nonresponsive on the couch about 10 a.m. May 25.
Gardner denied giving the teen methadone, and when questioned by investigators said she couldn’t be sure who did or how the girl got it. Gardner has not been charged in the case.
A family member of Macey’s said that he initially said Gardner gave his half sister the drug. But Macey later told investigators that he never said that.
Funke-Bilu said the incident has been devastating for his client’s mother, Anne Macey-Stites, and other family members.
“What’s left is the pain of a mother who lost her daughter and now is fighting for her son,” Funke-Bilu said. “The allegation eats away at the mourning. People should be able to mourn without having to deal with (criminal allegations).”