A senior official in the St. Louis County Department of Health is found dead from an apparent suicide. His death happened the day before he was scheduled to meet with county officials to answer questions about the Health Department's budget.
Edward Mueth was second in command at the St. Louis County Department of Health.
"The first thing I can tell you is Ed Mueth was a valued and trusted employee. So we're all saddened by this turn of events no matter what brought them on," says County Communications Director Pat Washington.
Washington says while preparing budgets, the head of the Department, Dr. Delores Gunn, noticed something amiss in one category that prompted her to ask her staff to audit those documents.
"As they were doing their due diligence, they became concerned about a pattern. They took their information to the county counselor's office, who in turn notified the County Executive's office, and we spoke with Dr. Gunn to try to get some clarification."
Washington says they have not been able to determine how long the pattern was going on, but they know it pointed back to Ed Mueth. Within hours of the county's legal counsel and County Executive Charlie Dooley's office finding out, Mueth was locked out of the system and a meeting was scheduled with him for Friday to get answers. Mueth's apparent suicide was Thursday.
"We can't determine the whole scope. What we do know is there is no rampant issue within the St. Louis County Health Department...We don't even know if any money is missing. So until there is a thorough investigation, those are questions we just cannot answer," says Washington.
St. Louis County Police are investigating right now, but we're told they're expected to bring in some help.
Pat Washington assures there aren't millions of dollars missing. She says this was not widespread, but they have concerns about one line item in the entire budget. She expects to have more information as county staff goes over those budget documents over the next few days.