It has now been three years since we lost our son, Kyle Hagmann, to GHB. We feel as if we now need to set the record straight regarding the circumstances of his death and the inadequate investigation conducted by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department following his death.
Toxicology tests revealed that Kyle had a high level of GHB in his system at the time of his death. GHB in combination with other depressants such as alcohol may worsen the depressant effects and increase the possibility of a fatal outcome, as in Kyle’s case. Kyle was never involved with drugs and didn't associate with people who were.
Kyle’s death has been under investigation by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Homicide Department for the last three years. This investigation has revealed that Kyle was drugged with GHB the night of his death and his roommate, at that time, has been under investigation for the last three years by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department for his involvement directly related to Kyle’s death.
This statement by the District Attorney basically summarizes the conclusion of this three-year investigation.
Direct quote from Senior Deputy District Attorney James D. Ellison of Ventura County, CA……….“California Penal Code 801 provides that any prosecution for an offense punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for less than eight years shall be commenced within three years after commission of the offense. In 1999 possession of GHB carried a three-year maximum sentence, furnishing GHB carried a four- year maximum sentence, and involuntary manslaughter also carried a four-year maximum sentence. Since Kyle died on April 24, 1999, charges needed to be filed by April 24, 2002. The case against Mr. Meacham was submitted to the District Attorney’s Office for review on May 6, 2002, twelve days after the deadline. We are thus precluded from filing any of these charges.”
We didn’t know there was a three-year statute of limitations for the filing of manslaughter charges in the state of California. We were told repeatedly by the detectives in charge of this case that, “There is no statute of limitations regarding a homicide investigation.”
Since the circumstances were questionable regarding the facts about Kyle’s death, we immediately hired a private investigator. He was the one who uncovered a lot of information about Kyle’s death, not the homicide detectives. This case basically sat for two years. In January 2002 the case was finally given to another detective to conclude. He did put a lot of effort into it but missed the deadline for filing it in time before the statute of limitations expired for manslaughter charges.
Because this case was twelve days late reaching the District Attorney’s Office, the charges that would have been filed cannot be filed now. In our opinion, the length of time it took to conclude this investigation is unacceptable. There is absolutely no excuse as to why this case continued to linger for three years in the Ventura County Sheriff’s Homicide Department. We were in constant contact with the detectives in charge of this case, doing everything possible to get this case to move forward. It has been heart wrenching for us to have to now accept this outcome, knowing that the person responsible for Kyle’s death, if successfully prosecuted, would have served up to eleven years in prison. We feel totally failed by the system, but more sadly the system also failed Kyle.
GHB is known as a “rape drug” and is used to incapacitate its victims.
Kyle was just at the wrong place at the wrong time and sadly that place was his own dorm room at California Lutheran University, which we considered to be the next safest place besides our own home.
Tony & Elise Hagmann