A Martinsville doctor who was the subject of a federal investigation for the distribution of opioids has died.
An autopsy on Dr. Vincent K. Jones was performed Wednesday, said Sara Ohanessian, a medical examiner in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Roanoke. The cause and manner of death are pending, and more testing will be done.
“It will probably be several weeks,” she said.
She said she didn’t know who or which agency had referred the body to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, and she said she didn’t know the date of death. She said she could not release any other information.
And there was scant other information available about how and when Jones had died and what the cause might have been. He was seen by a neighbor on Monday morning leaving his home on Cardinal Lane in Martinsville.
Martinsville Police Chief Eddie Cassady had indicated Thursday he didn’t have any information about the death, and Capt. Wayne Davis of the Henry County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to an email from the Martinsville Bulletin.
J.R. Powell, director of Martinsville-Henry County 911, said that center did not have logs of calls in the past several days from either Jones’ home at 1308 Cardinal Lane or his business, Community Family Care at 1856 Virginia Ave.
Federal search warrants issued in July alleged that there was probable cause to believe that Jones, an internist, had been illegally distributing controlled substances from that family practice. The warrants said Jones and others were using his practice to distribute Schedule II and Schedule IV controlled substances (namely oxycodone and hydrocodone-acetaminophen and possibly others) and to commit health care fraud and wire fraud in violation of federal law.
Officials with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.
“Nothing to report,” Brian McGinn, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Roanoke, wrote in an email in response to a Bulletin request for information.
But in an interview Thursday, a neighbor of Jones interviewed at her home on Cardinal Lane, who would not disclose her name, described what she saw as she watched and listened from a room inside her home on Monday morning.
She said Dr. Jones left his home about 8:30 a.m. About 8:55 she said saw several vehicles pull up and park on Cardinal Lane.
She estimated she saw six officers, including “two ladies. One of them was in uniform, and one of them was in plainclothes.”
She said she didn’t know what law enforcement agency the “ladies” were from, “but the ones who parked right here in front of my house were city police. They sat right there after the rest of them left for 10 or 15 minutes.”
The neighbor said officers from the agency she didn’t know knocked on the front and side door of Jones’ home and also went around the back of the home. She said she never saw any officer draw or hold a weapon. The officers knocked on the door and couldn’t get in, she said.
“A black SUV sat there for a long time, maybe an hour,” she said.
Some other officers left earlier.
“Then I went to the grocery store [at 10 or 10:15 a.m.]. When I got back, they had gone,” she said.
Several other neighbors described Jones as a good neighbor and a good person.
Wright Funeral Services & Crematory in Martinsville is handling arrangements but is not releasing any information at the request of the family.
In July searches were conducted at that residence on Cardinal Lane and at Community Family Care.
Anita Sowers, task force officer with DEA’s Roanoke Tactical Diversion Squad, had filed the applications for search warrants.
The documents didn’t specify when the investigation began, but they referred to a tip received about two years ago from a confidential informant of the Martinsville Police Department.
Paul Collins is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. Contact him at 276-638-8801, ext. 236.