Another Drug Lab Scandal -- One That Took Kids From Their Parents -- Ends In Prison Time

from the behold-the-motherfuckery-of-your-tax-dollars-at-work dept

Another horror story involving the government and a drug-testing lab is finally coming to a close. And the owner of the drug lab is going to jail.

Unlike others we've covered, this drug lab didn't contain employees who falsified drug tests that landed people in jail. But the outcome for the innocent was nearly as miserable. Faked drug tests performed by Brandy Murrah, the owner of A & J Lab Collections, resulted in parents losing their children.

As Ozark police continue to investigate reports of falsified drug and paternity cases involving a company contracted by the Department of Human Resources, families are coming forward with claims forged documents impacted their homes.

Jennifer Seavers is one of them.

“There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t cry, and I just want to bring my babies home as any parent would want to do,” Seavers said.

Seavers says she used the Department of Human Resource’s Pike County drug testing vendor, Brandy Murrah of A & J Lab Collections, as part of her custody battle for her youngest girls, Madilyn and Jennifer Grace.

Seavers said Murrah provided false positive drug tests, which prompted a judge to order restrictions on her access to her children - further complicating the custody battle.

This victim dug into the lab work supposedly performed by Murrah and found her test had been faked. The doctor that supposedly signed off on it had never seen the paperwork or reports generated by Murrah, who forged the doctor's signature on the documents.

The county also began digging into Murrah's drug testing and found more of the same.

Murrah had an agreement with the Dale County Department of Human Resources to perform drugs test on individuals involved in dependency, or custody, cases. She was not involved in any criminal cases.

Investigators said they launched their probe May 2 after evidence of drug screening reports that were provided to the Dale County Department of Human Resources by Murrah were found to be falsified. Ozark police Sgt. Cody Evans said multiple other drug screening reports provided to DHR are also believed to have been forged by Murrah.

It's unclear whether Murrah's actions were prompted by animosity towards her victims or just plain laziness. It really doesn't matter. Her actions ripped families apart and destroyed people's futures. But in the end, at least some justice was served.

Judge William Filmore decided Murrah, the former owner of an Ozark lab test collection company, will spend 15 years in prison after hearing testimony from those who said she falsified lab reports that led to their children being taken away.

Murrah pleaded guilty in September, agreeing to 15 years on a felony charge of perjury and 12 months on each of 16 misdemeanor counts of forgery to run concurrently.

This will give victims some closure. But it will only provide limited comfort. Their lives went through serious upheaval. Seavers isn't the only victim. Grace Newton went through the same nightmare. She fought through her drug problems to get her kids back only to have the state take away her three-month-old infant after a drug test handled by Murrah came back positive. This was reversed after a negative drug test, but for three weeks, the state became her baby's new parent, thanks to Murrah.

But here's the thing: it shouldn't take citizens wronged by a government contractor to suss out malfeasance and wrongdoing. The system residents are paying for with their tax dollars needs to be more proactive with its oversight. Rigorous oversight is difficult. But, ultimately, it's worth the time and effort. It's better to be perceived as skeptical than as a group of public servants willing to throw the public to the subcontracted wolves.

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Filed Under: brandy murrah, drug testing lab, forged results, law enforcement
Companies: a&j lab collections


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2020 @ 3:39pm

    No drug, DNA or other kind of government mandated test should be done without at least one, preferably two, other labs to corroborate the results. All it takes is one false positive (or negative) to unjustly screw someone over.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2020 @ 5:29pm

    The me too movement was about being believed?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 24 Nov 2020 @ 7:23pm

    Human brains... technology will take care of everything & we never have to look at it again.
    OMG HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN!!!!!

    Maybe because we spend more time looking for petty reasons to make citizens lives a bit worse & refuse to make sure we hold our people to a standard, because we wear white hats & would never ever do anything bad.

    I'm more curious about the paternity tests.
    We love to punish deadbeat parents, but aren't so quick to fix errors.
    While they say no criminal cases, how many might have been kicked off by a faked drug or baby daddy test?

    Of course they will claim a deep investigation, but mainly to cover their own asses & try to protect themselves from civil cases when if we little people lie to the court we go to jail... the state lies & oh oppsie...

    On the 10th day of Twitmo Twitter gave to me...NOTHING
    No emails, no explanations & a spike in my depression.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 25 Nov 2020 @ 1:13pm

      Re:

      truth, justice and the American way?
      They demand it of us, but never practice it, themselves.
      How about all the money SPENT for those tests?

      What happened to verification systems?
      Anyone remember when those were popular to hold sway over Gov. systems? To control what IS happening to us? This is as bad as all the laws created for womans right, and equal rights NOT being enforced.

      About as bad as laws being created, but not Voted on by the people. isnt that against the law also?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    steell (profile), 24 Nov 2020 @ 7:53pm

    Here is another one from Indiana
    https://www.wthr.com/article/news/investigations/13-investigates/13-investigates-department- of-child-services-dcs-falsified-drug-test-parents-children/531-b718d663-1b8c-4244-b4ff-d934c34bb549

    Is it something in the water??

    "According to DCS, the problems are linked to Tomo, a drug screen company based in Missouri, with a local office in Indianapolis."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 24 Nov 2020 @ 10:59pm

      Re:

      Is it something in the water??

      No, it's something about the money. You get better profits if you just make shit up as you go, instead of wasting lab-resources.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 24 Nov 2020 @ 10:12pm

    "Rigorous oversight is difficult"

    Not as difficult as losing children. As with so many law enforcement stories we see, if the excuse for not doing a job properly is "doing it right is too hard", you should be fired on the spot for incompetence. If the outcome of you not doing your job properly is people lose their kids and go to jail, then you should not be in that job if you won't do the work.

    If anyone's interested in the story behind a couple of the other scandals mentioned, I'd recommend the documentary series How To Fix A Drug Scandal on Netflix. I was aware of the stories, but the in depth look at what happened and their effects really brought home the problems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That Anonymous Coward (profile), 25 Nov 2020 @ 1:59am

      Re:

      Losing kids is easy... just look at how many children were lost in FL because CPS didn't bother to see if the kids were still alive... many of them weren't.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Tanner Andrews (profile), 13 Dec 2020 @ 8:23am

      Re:

      if the excuse for not doing a job properly is "doing it right is too hard", you should be fired on the spot for incompetence

      The U.S. Supreme Court has said otherwise. Due process requires balancing between (1) private interest (2) value of procedural safeguards and (3) inconvenience to government. The last factor is the one to be accorded the greatest weight. Mathews v. Eldridge, 424 U.S. 319 (US 22-Jun-1964).

      The application of the rule in that case gave a finding that loss of home and possessions was not sufficient reason to provide a prompt hearing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2020 @ 5:41am

    Re: Kotak Mahindra Bank Credit Card PIN Generation

    Spambot! Get your spambot here!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ninja, 25 Nov 2020 @ 7:24am

    Those in charge

    Am I the only one believing those in charge who let such widespread rights violation by neglecting oversight should also receive some harsh punishment and be completely forbidden from working to the government ever again?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 27 Nov 2020 @ 12:58am

      Re: Those in charge

      "Am I the only one believing those in charge who let such widespread rights violation by neglecting oversight should also receive some harsh punishment..."

      No, but in the US 1 in 3 don't really give a rat's ass about "oversight" which they believe only hinders Law and Order.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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