Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 23, 2013

Fourth doctor arrested in pain clinic case

86-year-old faces two felony charges of dealing drugs

By Scott Smith
Tribune staff writer

— A fourth doctor has been arrested and charged with dealing narcotics in connection with an ongoing investigation into two Kokomo-area pain management clinics.

Dr. Robert Brewer, 86, turned himself in Friday afternoon at the Howard County Jail, the same day Kokomo police arrested three doctors and four employees at the Wagoner Medical Center clinics in Kokomo and Burlington.

Howard County Prosecutor Mark McCann filed a total of 95 felony charges April 16 against nine individuals connected with the centers following a lengthy investigation by local, state and federal law enforcement.

Warrants were served on the clinics Friday, and three of the doctors charged remained in custody at the Howard County Jail Monday afternoon.

Howard Superior Court 1 Judge William Menges set bond at $1 million, cash only, for doctors Don Wagoner, Marilyn Wagoner and William Terpstra, and set bond at $75,000 for the other six employees. Three of the employees, including Brewer and two office workers, have already bonded out of jail.

McCann said Monday that Don and Marilyn Wagoner are due in court Thursday for a bond reduction hearing in front of Menges. McCann wouldn’t comment on the $1 million bond set for the three, but said Brewer’s involvement in the alleged illegal distribution of narcotic prescription medication was less than the other three doctors. McCann said Brewer had also quit working at the clinics some time ago.

Don Wagoner, the founder of the clinics, faces the most serious charges — 20 felony counts in all. His wife, Marilyn Wagoner, faces 19 felony counts and Terpstra faces 24 felony counts.

Brewer was charged with one Class B felony count of dealing in a narcotic drug and one Class C felony count of dealing a controlled substance.

A warrant is still active for John Thomas, a physician assistant at the clinics, who is wanted on four felony charges.

Both Wagoners have already signed agreements with the Medical Licensing Board of Indiana promising to quit prescribing controlled substances. The Indiana Attorney General’s office is asking the licensing board to suspend the licenses of Brewer and Terpstra.

The licensing board is scheduled to hear the state’s case against Brewer and Terpstra in Indianapolis Thursday.

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com