WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah - A former West Valley City Police officer faces criminal charges for allegedly taking prescription medication from the home of a dead cancer patient.
34-year-old Ryan Humphrey, a 10-year veteran of the West Valley City Police Dept., has already lost his job, and now he faces criminal charges.
The wife of the cancer patient who died did not want to talk on camera but says Humphrey should be held accountable and she supports prosecutors’ decision to file drug and theft charges.
After a long struggle with blood cancer, a 49-year-old West Valley City man died at a home near 6400 West and 3100 South on June 5. Neighbors remember him fondly.
"[At one point], he was bishop of our ward," said Steve Whatcott.
"So he was a really family oriented guy and he thinks everyone should be a part of his family," added neighbor Rebecca Hayes.
Three West Valley City Police officers went to the home to investigate the unattended death.
"There was a plethora of medication there. Officer Halulic and Mr. Humphrey started to count that and take an inventory," said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill.
Prosecutors say a fellow cop watched Officer Ryan Humphrey pocket morphine pills.
The other officer pulled Humphrey out of the home, away from the grieving widow and confronted him in front of a supervisor.
"There's not words for me to say of what a right thing he did, which is not easy to do," said Gill.
According to charges, “after prompting by Officer Halulic, Humphrey produced 22 pills from his pocket.”
Now he's charged drug possession and theft. Neighbors are stunned.
"With his family, they're still grieving and with what's been happening with West Valley Police, it's just strange that he would take that chance, he must've been pretty desperate," said Whatcott.
Lindsay Jarvis, Humphrey's attorney would not say if he had been previously disciplined but on July 10, she confirmed Humphrey had been undergoing evaluations for medical problems.
"There is no evidence that he has done this before and in fact, he told officers when he was confronted that this has never happened. This is a moment when an impulse took over," said Jarvis.
That impulse could land the officer in prison for several years. Humphrey resigned from the West Valley Police Department immediately after the incident. While he hasn't been arrested, Gill says Humphrey will eventually be booked into Salt Lake County Jail.