Teacher aide drug investigation

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POSTED: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 9:43am

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 10, 2013 - 4:23pm

Former teacher's aide accused in drug overdose deaths of 4 people; charged with 1st-degree murder.

Dangerous prescription drugs were allegedly doled out to youth people in the Denver area, by a woman who was supposed to keep the best interests of kids at heart.

A former teacher's aide and former school bus driver faces charges in connection with the overdose deaths of four young people.

The deaths occurred between 2008 and 2011.

50-year-old Almeda Sullivan was in court tuesday, facing a first-degree murder charge in one of the cases.

Carter Higdon was only 21 years old when he died of an overdose of illegal prescription drugs.

It happened at this centennial home.

And after what prosecutors call an unprecedented investigation, the owner, 50 year old Almeda Sullivan, is now charged with first degree murder.

"This is someone who strikes me as the quote unquote cool mom or the older person in the community who liked to be surrounded by young people and liked having them dependent upon her."

Investigators say Sullivan provided the fatal drugs to Higdon, lied about when she discovered he had died, tried to cover up the scene, and then failed to call for help for hours.

"When Sullivan finally called police to report Higden's death, and investigators came to the door, they realized they had been here before on another drug overdose death. They started taking a hard look at Sullivan, and realized she was connected to two addition, a total of four, drug overdose deaths."

"She wanted these kids to get high, she wanted to help them get high and she knew the risks associated with providing them these drugs in this matter."

Investigators say the main drug in all four deaths is a prescription drug called Opana.

Witnesses say Sullivan showed young people how to grind up the pills and snort them.

"She showed them how to use these particular drugs to get the quickest, biggest bang for their snort."

The arrest warrant says Sullivan used fake names and even her dead husband's prescription to get hundreds of prescription pills a month.

One witness told police Sullivan quote "sells them to everybody she feels she has control over."

Another says Sullivan quote - tried to "push people to the brink" of overdose and then she would quote "try to bring them back."

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