Middletown detectives recognized for helping children after mother of 9 died of drug overdose

No matter how many cases she works, Middletown detective Kristi Hughes said she won’t forget what happened Dec. 13, 2017, and how the region responded to the crisis.

After Jimeta Sanders, 31, a mother of nine, died of a drug overdose in her Middletown home in the 1400 block of Yankee Road, Hughes and detective Tim Meehan spearheaded a campaign to assist the family days before Christmas.

MORE: Middletown father of 9 says ‘We are blessed’ as police deliver community’s donations

The detectives evaluated the situation and knew they “needed to intervene” and help the father take care of his children, said Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw. They recruited coworkers and took to the department’s social media pages asking for assistance, Muterspaw said.

Cindy Cobaugh-Davis and Erica Priest from police records helped organize all of the incoming donations and then had the police department helping with deliveries, picking up items, dropping off items and making deposits.

In the end, the Sanders family was given new beds, the children had toys to open for Christmas, new bicycles, a Christmas tree, stove, refrigerator, furniture, everything from gas cards to gift cards for groceries and almost $20,000 in cash, according to Muterspaw.

Then Meehan and Hughes, on their day off, and those from the department delivered the gifts to the family.

MORE: Community response shows man ‘what it means to be human’

For their efforts, Hughes and Meehan recently were named City Employees of the Year.

“There are so many days that will always be in my thoughts and have a place in my heart,” Hughes said. “Particularly this case. To see small children and a grieving husband deal with one of the hardest moments in their life. And then to see a nation come together for them. I was beyond humbled and I still am. They will forever be in my heart.”

Co-workers nominated city employees for the award and each quarter, winners of the Extra Mile and Customer Service awards were announced. Then the Employee of the Year was selected from those quarterly winners.

MORE: First, she saved a boy at a pool. Then this Middletown officer helped pull a couple from a burning home.

This is the second straight year a member of the police department won the award. Officer Sheoki Reece won the award in 2017 after she was credited for potentially saving the life of an 8-year-old boy who was drowning in a swimming pool.

Winners of the Extra Mile quarterly awards:

First quarter: Kristi Hughes and Tim Meehan, police department

Second quarter: Rocky Ball, wastewater

Third quarter: Nicole Clark, public works

Fourth quarter: Rod Banks and Dana Wysong, street maintenance

Customer Service Awards

First quarter: Rhonda Hamilton, finance

Second quarter: Ella Stricklin, maintenance; Rob Nicolls, city engineer; Nicole Clark, public works

Third quarter: Karen Robinson, finance

Fourth quarter: Amy Schenck, city council clerk

Middletown Way Award

Ashley Combs, planning director; Julie Owsley, paralegal

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