Smithville woman charged with stealing hospice patient’s pain medication

Kerrina Elliott
Kerrina Elliott

A Smithville employee of Therapeutic Health Services was charged Tuesday with stealing her elderly client’s pain medication.

Kerrina Elliott, 43, of Smithville is charged in Platte County with stealing, elderly abuse and possession of methamphetamine. She allegedly swapped a client’s hydrocodone tablets with acetaminophen at the outpatient rehabilitation service where she worked, according to a release from the Platte County Prosecutor’s Office.

Elliott’s work contract did not allow her to administer medication, court documents show. Instead, Elliott’s duties included cleaning, personal care, cooking and laundry services.

A tip and hidden camera led authorities to Elliott’s alleged crimes earlier this year. After other caregivers of the 95-year-old woman alerted authorities that the woman’s hydrocodone tablets had been swapped with acetaminophen, investigators with the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations installed a hidden camera in the woman’s kitchen, with the approval of her caregiver.

On March 1, caregivers contacted authorities again to report four hydrocodone tablets from a locked prescription box were missing.

Video footage allegedly captured Elliott accessing the locked prescription box “in a secretive manner,” according to court documents.

Hydrocodone is a doctor-prescribed opioid pain medication. Acetaminophen is a pain reliever that can be purchased over the counter and can come in the form of Tylenol.

The elderly woman was on hospice and required constant care, court documents said.

On March 13, Elliott was stopped for traffic violations and Platte County deputies allegedly found a small bag of a crystal substance that a field test indicated was methamphetamine.

Elliott is charged as a prior and persistent felony offender. She faces up to 10 years in prison for the stealing and possession of methamphetamine charges. She also faces up to a year for elderly abuse.

She remains in custody at the Platte County Detention Center on $25,000 bond.

Max Londberg: 816-234-4378, @MaxLondberg