The February death of an Ellicott City quadriplegic has been ruled a homicide, according to the Howard County Police Department.
Kevin Patrick Molony, 51, of the 4000 block of Chariots Flight Way, died of oxycodone intoxication on Feb. 27, police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said in a statement released Monday, citing the final autopsy report from the state medical examiner's office.
Molony was paralyzed in a 2007 car accident and was being cared for by family members and nurses at his home.
Paramedics called to his home for a medical emergency in February pronounced Molony dead. They found "no evident signs of trauma" on his body, Llewellyn said.
"Although there were no obvious signs of foul play at the scene, detectives began investigating the case as potentially suspicious," according to the police statement. Medical testing led to Molony's death being classified as a homicide.
Detectives are investigating how the prescription painkiller was administered to him before his death.
Molony was survived by his wife, Nancy, a daughter, Kelly and a son, Kevin, according to an obituary published in March.
A woman who answered the door at Molony's home on Monday afternoon declined comment.
Neighbors who lived nearby said they had little contact with Molony.
"I seldom saw him outside," said Mary Teachman. "A couple times I did, he was in a wheelchair with his dog."
But others who knew Molony in the past, and who commented on an online obituary website earlier this year, were shocked to learn that his death was now considered a homicide.
"Never in a million years would I think of homicide," said Lydia Heitt, a 69-year-old Baltimore resident who had worked with Molony more than two dozen years ago at a city carpet distributor.
Heitt said she had remained in contact with Molony years after they left the company, but lost touch with him after his accident.
"I was very fond of Kevin," she said. "He was a good guy."
Molony's death brings the number of homicides in Howard County this year to seven, including two at the state-run Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center in Jessup.