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updated: 5/19/2014 8:15 AM

Western Illinois sheriff charged with misconduct

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Associated Press

PITTSFIELD -- A western Illinois sheriff is facing a felony misconduct charge for a 2012 death investigation of a woman who overdosed on heroin.

Pike County Sheriff Paul Petty is also the county's coroner. He was charged after prosecutors say he didn't follow procedures for embalming the body of 47-year-old Shanda Lopez.

Two other men were charged in connection with Lopez's death, including one who's accused of drug-induced homicide. Authorities say Petty didn't draw blood for a toxicology screening before Lopez's body was embalmed.

Petty says he remains sheriff and coroner and tells the Quincy Herald-Whig he will "go about my life." He tells WGEM-TV the charges were a surprise.

His lawyer says the case was handled appropriately.

Petty faces up to five years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

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