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Dirty John’s end in Ohio
John Meehan, had thick dark hair and a warm, friendly smile, but he also had a very troubling past. (Photo provided by Debra Newell/TNS)
In January 2003, when Meehan was permanently barred from ever working again in Ohio as a nurse or nurse anesthetist, he was in a Michigan prison serving up to six years for resisting arrest and possession of drugs.
On the June 2002 day he was to surrender in Butler County, Ohio, Meehan was arrested in Michigan after kicking a state trooper trying to force him from a hiding place above an elevator in a Saginaw mall. He was being transported to a hospital after he was discovered semi-conscious and in need of medical attention in a hotel room. He hid in the elevator shaft after jumping from a moving ambulance with some narcotics in hand and ran into the shopping center. Police eventually traced him to the elevator and noticed an image left by his tennis shoes on the elevator roof.
In Butler County, Meehan pleaded guilty to theft of drugs from a Hamilton hospital, culminating an 18-month task force investigation into allegations that Meehan had stolen drugs from hospitals in four states. Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Patricia Oney delayed Meehan’s sentencing so he could seek drug treatment and later to give Meehan’s lawyer time to gather information to support a lighter sentence.
Oney then granted Meehan a 23-hour stay of his sentence so he could take care of personal matters, including placement of his pets and removal of furniture from his home, which was under foreclosure.
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Dirty John was also charged in Fayette County
While awaiting sentencing in Butler County, Meehan was charged in Fayette County, Ohio, with two counts of deception to obtain drugs after authorities determined he had checked himself into a hospital in Washington Court House under a different name and was undergoing medical treatment. Deputies noticed Meehan’s car had been parked for three days in the hospital parking lot. The investigation led deputies to Detective Dennis Luken of the Warren County Drug Task Force, who outlined the alleged drug thefts from hospitals in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky.
Butler County employer contacted authorities
It was Meehan’s employer, a group of Butler County anesthesiologists, that contacted authorities. Police were called after Meehan, already suspected of stealing drugs he was to be administering to patients at Fort Hamilton Hospital, left the hospital in August after he was caught trying to submit a patient’s urine sample as his own to pass a drug test.
By agreeing to cooperate with authorities, Meehan’s employer enabled Luken to convince Meehan and his lawyer to plead guilty to the felony drug charge after a 16-month police investigation. Without the plea, Luken said he was having trouble getting enough evidence to convince medical licensing boards in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Kentucky to suspend Meehan’s work privileges.
Dirty John also Worked in Northern Kentucky
Before his suspension, Meehan was working at Meadowview Hospital in Maysville, Ky., under a temporary license. Luken found drugs from the northern Kentucky hospital in Meehan’s Hamilton home and contacted hospital officials, who matched the numbers of the containers with those missing from the hospital inventory.
John Meehan with his father, William Meehan, in San Jose, Calif., in the early 1960s. (Photo provided by Donna Meehan-Stewart/TNS)
Germantown anesthetist also reported Dirty John
A Germantown anesthetist was unhappy with the board’s response to his complaints about Meehan in February 2002. Nurse anesthetist Randy Klotz told police he had notified the nursing board of Meehan’s problems with drugs, as well as a time Meehan brought a gun into the operating room at Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton.
Dirty John was living in Springboro when case began
Meehan, a graduate of the Wright State University School of Nursing in 1994 and the Middle Tennessee School of Anesthesia in 1998, lived with his wife and two daughters in Centerville, Dayton and Springboro before their separation in 2000.
In September 2000, his ex-wife gave Springboro police the wooden box and white basket found at their home on Colonial Way in Springboro that triggered the criminal investigation.
Evidence was found in Hamilton
Luken and a Fairfield police captain found a loaded 9 mm Ruger in Meehan’s closet and 45 empty containers for six different medications from Meadowview Hospital in Maysville, Ky. The drugs were discovered during the search of his home in Hamilton.
Dirty John’s brother died from overdose
Before his arrest, Meehan used the hospital medications himself, developing an addiction, authorities said. He also gave medications and information about their use to his brother who died in California in September 2000 from an overdose of his own prescription medications.
The Indiana action was based on testimony from Luken about the search of Meehan’s home, as well as e-mails from Meehan to his brother about the use of the powerful hospital medications. Daniel Meehan, 44, died Sept. 4, 2000, due to complications caused by prescription medication intoxication, according to the coroner in Santa Cruz County, Calif. An autopsy found evidence of cocaine and drugs he had been prescribed and ruled his death was accidental.