Skip to Content

Randolph County experiencing increase in fentanyl-related overdose deaths


Randolph County has been seeing an increase in overdose deaths related to fentanyl over the past few years, according to the county's prosecutor.

Randolph County Prosecutor Stephanie Luntsford said the county had been seeing a trend in heroin use that often times was found to be laced with fentanyl. Luntsford said the county also saw an increase in methamphetamine use that was found to be mixed with fentanyl after being tested.

That trend slowly turned into people using fentanyl in pill or patch form, resulting in more overdose deaths.

On Wednesday, Michael A. Graves, 32, of Moberly, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with a July 2023 fatal overdose. Graves is accused of supplying the drug to the victim who has not been named. Graves was in the Randolph County Jail on Thursday without bond.

Luntsford said in Randolph County, most people who die as a result of the overdose are in their 30s.

"So, it's taking away the lives of very young people who you wouldn't expect to pass away at that age."

In Boone County, two Columbia men were charged for their alleged roles in a 2023 fentanyl overdose. Chase A. Rieves and Derek Miltimore were charged with second-degree murder in the the May 2023 death of a victim.

According to a probable cause statement, police found messages about a drug deal involving Percocet pills on the victim's phone and traced those back to Rieves and Miltimore. Miltimore was in the Boone County jail on a $40,000 cash bond Thursday, while it wasn't clear whether Rieves was in custody.

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, there were five overdose deaths in Randolph County in 2022. Boone County saw 55 overdose deaths in 2022, compared to 52 in 2021. Cole County experienced 12 overdose deaths in 2022, down from 14 in 2022.

The entire state of Missouri experienced 2,180 overdose deaths in 2022, up from 2,163 the year prior.

Moberly resident Darren Jones said he's heard multiple accounts of people in the city overdosing from fentanyl. Jones described being frustrated with a lack of investigating that follows after a person overdoses.

Jones said police frequently release that a person died from an overdose, but said he doesn't believe they look further into the people who supplied the individual the drug. He said he'd like to see more of the suppliers held accountable.

"I mean, well at least show some type of you know concern I mean to try and help these families get closure," Jones said. "Fentanyl is the heart of the whole thing here, it's killing people everywhere."

Luntsford said it is typically rare for anyone to be charged in these cases because of the amount of evidence investigators have to gather and the information that has to be proven. She said the murder charges against Graves were probably her third time charging someone with murder in that type of case.

Luntsford said it's usually easier for a person to be charged with felony murder, as opposed to manslaughter because it states a person died as a result of the person committing a felony.

However, she said both charges present their own difficulties.

"The trickiest thing I would say in these particular type of cases is linking up the information where we can definitively determine who it is that maybe distributed the controlled substance," Luntsford said. "If we can put together a good timeline that matches you know, the time of death."

Article Topic Follows: Crime

Jump to comments ↓

Nia Hinson


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content