A new criminal complaint alleges former Angels employee Eric Kay supplied pitcher Tyler Skaggs with the fentanyl that caused his death, according to Sports Illustrated's Michael McKnight.
Skaggs, 27, was found dead in his Southlake, Texas, hotel room on July 1, 2019, just hours before the Angels were set to face the Rangers. A toxicology report revealed he had fentanyl and oxycodone and alcohol in his system. While under the influence of the three substances, Skaggs choked on his vomit and died. The Tarrant County medical examiner's office listed his cause of death as a mixture of "alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents."
The complaint was filed in Fort Worth, Texas., last week. It does not charge Kay but supports an arrest warrant for conspiring to distribute fentanyl, according to McKnight.
“It was later determined that but for the fentanyl in [Skaggs’s] system, [Skaggs] would not have died,” the criminal complaint stated.
Kay worked for the Angels' media relations department for 24 years before leaving the club following Skaggs' death. In 2019, ESPN reported that Kay admitted to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration that he routinely provided Skaggs with oxycodone in recent years and abused it with him.
The complaint said that Skaggs and Kay exchanged text messages on June 30, when the left-hander asked Kay to come to his room and bring pills, per McKnight.
Investigators found a blue pill, five pink pills, "and several white pills that were determined to be [non-opioid] anti-inflammatories," in Skaggs' room, the complaint said. The blue pill, according to the complaint, was found to be a "counterfeit" oxycodone pill that also contained fentanyl.
The five pink pills the investigators discovered "did not contain fentanyl, and had the markings of 5 milligram oxycodone pills," according to the complaint. Kay was not the source of these five pink pills, investigators concluded.
The Angels released a statement Friday afternoon and said they "hired a former federal prosecutor to conduct an independent investigation."
“We learned that there was unacceptable behavior inconsistent with our code of conduct, and we took steps to address it. Our investigation also confirmed that no one in management was aware, or informed, of any employee providing opioids to any player, nor that Tyler was using opioids.
"As we try to heal from the loss of Tyler, we continue to work with authorities as they complete their investigation."
The Angels selected Skaggs with the 40th pick in the first round of the 2009 MLB draft. He was traded to the Diamondbacks in 2010 and made his major league debut in 2012 before being sent back to the Angels after the 2013 season. He went 28–38 with a 4.41 ERA in seven major league seasons.