Last week, the McDonald County Sheriff's Office responded to an early morning call regarding a disturbance with a weapon that ended in a suspected, fatal overdose.
At 8:22 a.m. on Wednesday, June 17, deputies rushed to 44 Hodson Way in Anderson under advisory that a female, LyndaBeth Meekins, was allegedly armed with a knife and threatening to set fire to the home. Emergency responders were also dispatched to the scene and directed to stand by until the area was secured.
Upon arrival, deputies located Meekins and, upon instruction, she unhanded the knife, but reports indicate that she also appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance.
"At times she was incoherent and catatonic, but also became combative and bit a deputy on the leg," Sheriff Michael Hall said.
Due to her perceived mental health state and substance abuse issues, Meekins was placed into handcuffs for the safety of all those on the scene and EMS was ushered in to provide medical assistance.
According to Hall, while walking around the residence to meet with the medics, Meekins "decided she did not want to walk anymore and sat down." Deputies allowed Meekins to continue sitting down while EMS checked her out.
While medics were monitoring Meekins' blood pressure, she allegedly was not compliant -- arguing with personnel and telling them "no." While attempting to test her blood sugar, reports indicate that Meekins slipped out of a handcuff, again became combative, attempted to kick surrounding deputies and successfully kicked the deputy who was previously bitten on the leg.
Meekins was then resecured in the handcuffs. As deputies were securing her feet and retrieving a pair of leg cuffs to prevent her from kicking additional staff, Meekins became unresponsive. Hall said she appeared to be unconscious, but medics discovered that she was no longer breathing and began CPR on Meekins.
She was then transported to Freeman Neosho Hospital and pronounced dead.
McDonald County Coroner William B.J. Goodwin was contacted and an autopsy ordered. Hall said that, according to Goodwin, preliminary results indicated that Meekins had been a heavy drug user but, no cause of death was determined.
Hall said the medical examiner tentatively attributed Meekins' death to an overdose. Her toxicology reports are expected to return within 30 days.
Hall said the MCSO has a responsibility to transparency and has requested the Newton County Sheriff's Office to perform an outside investigation surrounding the use of force during this incident.