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Officials to exhume body in investigation of nurse

Associated Press
Last updated 08:50 AM, EST, Wednesday, February 19, 2003

MARION, Ind. (AP) -- Officials said they plan to exhume a body as part of an investigation of a nurse charged with illegally administering narcotics to nursing home patients.

Peggy S. Couse, a former third-shift supervisor at Twin City Healthcare in Gas City, faces five felony charges of dealing controlled substances. She was arrested Friday and released from the Grant County Jail on $95,000 bond.
Relatives of the deceased person agreed to investigators' request to exhume the body, Grant County Prosecutor James Luttrull Jr. said.

"We're trying to confirm or corroborate information that has been given," he said. "The medical history and medical charts and witness accounts have led us to conclude that this is a person we have a duty to check out."
Couse, 40, of Jonesboro, has not been charged in any deaths.

She declined comment when contacted Wednesday by The Associated Press.

Couse faces up to 32 years in prison if convicted of the drug dealing charges and could have her nurse's license suspended after a state hearing planned for Thursday.

The state attorney general's office said Couse was accused of administering drugs without a doctor's authorization.
Couse was fired from the nursing home in the city about 40 miles south of Fort Wayne after officials became suspicious and went to police. She also has worked at other Grant County nursing homes as part of a temporary service, Luttrull said.

No other exhumations are planned, he said.

Officials did not release the identity of the body that would be exhumed, but Grant County Coroner Mark Bardsley said the person died about a month ago.

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