St. Charles Herald-Guide

Toxicology results needed to determine cause of Destrehan death

By Kyle Barnett - February 21, 2013

It could be up to six weeks before authorities discover what caused the death of a Destrehan woman who has been linked to an FBI investigation.

Danelle Keim, 27, was found dead in her home on Stanton Hall Drive in Destrehan in the early morning hours on Saturday, Feb. 8. Keim reportedly battled with drugs in the past and was a graduate of the parish’s drug court. The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a press release that the cause of death was unknown and officials have refused to comment on details surrounding the death because they say the incident is still under investigation.

There doesn’t appear to have been any physical trauma to the body. A representative with the coroner’s office said that if physical injuries were present, the cause of death would have been determined quickly. The coroner’s office is currently awaiting toxicology results, which could take up to six weeks.

In fact, the coroner’s official said that it recently took the coroner two months to receive results that led to a drug overdose finding.

Keim’s death came less than a day after a NOLA.com/Times-Picayune report revealed the F.B.I. investigation into former cases handled by Morel was connected to allegations of his granting leniency to those charged with crimes in exchange for sexual favors.

Sources with information on the investigation said part of the allegations were focused on a 2009 burglary case involving Errol Falcon Jr., who was convicted in 2011 and sentenced to 20 years in jail after being found with more than $100,000 in stolen goods in his residence. According to those sources, the FBI was investigating whether Falcon asked his girlfriend to perform sexual acts with Morel in exchange for leniency.

A source told the Herald-Guide that Keim was Falcon’s girlfriend at the time he was facing burglary charges.

District Attorney Joel Chaisson said his office has not been contacted by the Sheriff’s Office concerning an investigation into Keim’s death.

"I don’t want to comment and speculate on what the sheriff or anybody else may be doing in connection with this," Chaisson said. "No one has contacted my office in regards to any kind of investigation or something that would amount to charges that we would have to look at."

Around 1,200 records related to cases handled by Morel’s office in his last three and a half years as district attorney were handed over to FBI agents last month under the order of a subpoena.

Keim was a model drug court client and graduated from the rigourous program in 2009, according to Judge Lauren Lemmon.

"Unfortunately, while common in most if not all families, addiction is a disease that is ‘taboo’ to discuss," Lemmon said. "Danelle had the courage to look within herself, to accept that there was something bigger than she was, to embrace her higher power she called God and to face her disease called addiction."

The Sheriff’s Office has asked anyone who has any information regarding Keim’s death to contact them at (985) 783-6807 or (985) 783-1135 or contact Crimestoppers at (877) 903-STOP. Citizens do not have to give their name or testify and could receive up to $2,500 for information.

Toxicology results needed to determine cause of Destrehan death