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Radford woman pleads guilty to giving boy Suboxone for urine test scheme

Radford woman pleads guilty to giving boy Suboxone for urine test scheme

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RADFORD — Katie Sowers Hinkley was using her sister’s urine to pass drug screens, a prosecutor said Monday in city Circuit Court. But then Hinkley began asking her boyfriend’s 10-year-old son, who she called “Little Man,” to urinate into bottles.

And on two days in October 2018, deciding Little Man’s urine should test positive for the Suboxone that she was prescribed as a treatment for drug addiction, Hinkley began giving the boy some of her medication – and was quickly found out when he started dry-heaving, shaking and crying at school.

That was part of Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Rehak’s summary of the prosecution’s case at a hearing where Hinkley, 31, of Radford, pleaded guilty to six felony charges: two counts each of distributing a Schedule I, II or III drug to a minor; cruelty to a child; and child abuse or neglect.

Earlier in the case, prosecutors said the boy could have died.

On Monday, Judge Joey Showalter accepted Hinkley’s pleas and found her guilty, ordered a pre-sentence report and set a Sept. 11 hearing to schedule her sentencing.

Defense attorney Matt Roberts of Blacksburg said Hinkley was making her pleas without any agreement about sentencing.

Hinkley was not physically present for her hearing, but appeared via video from the New River Valley Regional Jail.

Hinkley was arrested on Oct. 6, 2018, a day after school staff spotted the 10-year-old’s illness and had him taken to the hospital. Tests there revealed that he had taken Suboxone, Rehak said.

Investigators soon uncovered Hinkley’s plan, some of it documented in her text messages, to switch urine for drug screens, Rehak said.

Rehak said officers found bottles of urine stored in Hinkley’s residence.

Hinkley gave the boy a half pill of her Suboxone on Oct. 4 and Oct. 5, Rehak said. A search warrant filed in the case said Hinkley’s boyfriend told police that the Suboxone came in 8 mg pills.

At a 2018 hearing, Hinkley said she was prescribed Suboxone as she battled a heroin addiction.

Prosecutors explained that each time Hinkley renewed her Suboxone prescription, she had to undergo a drug screen. If the results showed anything illegal, she would not be given another prescription. Hinkley thought she would not pass the test, so began substituting her sister’s urine, then the boy’s, prosecutors said.

After the hearing, Rehak noted in an email that Hinkley’s dosing of the boy came less than five months after the sentencing of a Stuart man who shared his Suboxone with a Radford teen, who overdosed and died.

In May 2018, Griffith Coy Goodyear pleaded guilty to homicide and two counts of drug distribution and was ordered to serve five years in prison, a sentence arrived at after the family of Shakeem Dangelo James, the 19-year-old who died, asked for mercy for Goodyear.

Rehak wrote that such cases show “the dangers of experimenting” with prescription medicine.

The boy who Hinkley gave Suboxone to seems to have recovered without lasting physical effects, Rehak wrote.

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