A nurse married to a Mount Pleasant police supervisor has been charged with using fraudulent prescriptions for Oxycodone, making her the second woman in his life to be linked to a prescription drug investigation.
Margaret Brooke Hembree, 34, is accused of using bogus prescriptions from two Medical University of South Carolina obstetricians to get pills from Wal-Mart and Harris Teeter pharmacies in Mount Pleasant on two occasions over the past month, according to arrest affidavits.
Hembree, wife of police Sgt. Justin Hembree, was arrested Aug. 14 by a state health department investigator and charged with two counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. She is free on a personal recognizance bond.
An MUSC spokeswoman said Margaret Hembree no longer works for the hospital. She had been there since 2005.
Justin Hembree, a detective division supervisor, did not address the charges directly, but he had this to say Friday: "I've been through a lot and my wife has been through a lot. We're just trying to move forward and keep our dignity."
He and his wife married in 2006, three years after his former fiancee, Molly Wrazen, was found shot to death in his Mount Pleasant apartment on Nov. 3, 2003.
Wrazen, a 28-year-old pharmacist, had a gunshot wound to the chest, and one of Hembree's guns was lying nearby. Because of Hembree's position as a narcotics officer, Mount Pleasant police asked the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate whether it was a suicide, murder or an accident.
Questions swirled around Wrazen's death following revelations that no fingerprints were found on the gun and that she was contemplating moving to Florida and leaving Hembree behind. Another mystery emerged when a private investigator for the family discovered that Wrazen was buying hundreds of prescription painkillers over the Internet and having packages delivered to Hembree's apartment.
State investigators also discovered about 10,000 Lortab pills and other prescription pills missing from the Kmart where Wrazen worked.
Two state investigations failed to determine whether Wrazen took her own life or was slain, in part because SLED bungled the first probe with numerous missteps. A 2006 coroner's inquest produced a jury ruling that Wrazen's death was a homicide, but the manner of death still reads "undetermined' on her death certificate.
Justin Hembree declined to discuss the Wrazen case Friday, but his wife's attorney, Alexandra Benevento of Columbia, cautioned against speculation drawing parallels between the Wrazen case and Margaret Hembree's current predicament. "There is no reason to believe there is any nexus there," she said.
Mount Pleasant Deputy Police Chief Stan Gragg offered this statement on behalf of the department: "The department is aware of the arrest and has no information linking Sgt. Hembree to any wrongdoing."