TRINITY, TX (KTRE) - A Trinity police dispatcher who was arrested following an investigation into the theft of methamphetamine that was placed into evidence has died.
Johnna Brown Thompson, 42, of Lufkin, was charged May 4 with third-degree tampering with evidence. She was found dead Tuesday, police say, in her car in Lufkin. Officials are not releasing her cause of death at this time.
According to Lufkin Police, officers and EMS were dispatched to the 500 block of Gaslight Blvd. and found Thompson dead inside a vehicle in the parking lot of Texas Neurology Gaslight. According to officials, Thompson's mother contacted dispatch.
EMS broke the driver side window to gain access inside the car. Thompson was found lying on her side in the back of the car with no signs of life and that Rigor Mortis had set in.
An autopsy has been requested.
Chief Steven Jones said a Texas Ranger just picked her up in Lufkin and is bringing her to the Trinity Police Department so she can be officially processed.
"This motive, I did ask her and she just told me that she'd had a rough week," Jones said.
Jones said Thompson stole less than a gram of meth by manipulating a dropbox.
"I'm proud to say that in my 10 years at Trinity PD, this is the first arrest in the department we've made," Jones said. "I just want to be upfront about it because we shouldn't hide something like this just because it's one of our own. We report on criminals so we'll report on our own."
Jones said the meth was brought into evidence on April 25 following an arrest. Police noticed it missing Thursday after they tried to retrieve it to mail it to DPS for testing.
"And this is just something that's revealed a small flaw in the drop box system," Jones said. "Yes, we will have to either weld that, fix that, or have another box made that has a little bit better security to it."
Jones said that he first checked with who he had known had the drugs, most recently. But, Officer Donald Givens said he dropped the drugs in the box, on April 25, and surveillance footage backed him up.
The surveillance showed Thompson stole it on April 30, Jones said. He also added that this situation could have been worse without the camera system at the department.
"It never would have crossed and again that's why we have a camera system all throughout the police department," Jones said. "Unfortunately, in this situation, one of our dispatchers did not do proper and it caught it."
Thompson had been with the department about four months, Jones said.
"Not only were there no signs, but, just this past Tuesday, one of the officers in our county sought me out to let me know, she was doing such a great job, that she was the best dispatcher that I had, and that she was always taking care of everything perfectly," Jones said.
Thompson is facing up to 2 years in prison.