Sheriff probes program linked to Scientology


OKLAHOMA CITY -- After three deaths in nine months at an eastern Oklahoma drug rehab center with ties to the Church of Scientology, the local sheriff confirmed Wednesday that he has launched an investigation.

Pittsburg County Sheriff Joel Kerns said his office is looking into three deaths at Narconon Arrowhead. The most recent, of Stacy Dawn Murphy, 20, occurred Thursday. "She was found with no apparent abrasions or anything of that sort," Sheriff Kerns said. "No apparent medical conditions."

Sheriff Kerns said Ms. Murphy had recently returned to the center in Canadian, about 130 miles east of Oklahoma City, after a visit to her home in Owasso. The sheriff said staff reported she tested positive for drugs after returning.

The center's director, Gary Smith, said Narconon Arrowhead is fully cooperating with investigators.

Narconon uses saunas, vitamins, mild exercise, and a special diet in its three-month treatment, which is based on techniques developed by the Church of Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard.