Former Youngstown police officer facing charge in sister’s death

Barbara Copeland was in charge of taking care of her disabled sister, who died in her care last year

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A former Youngstown Police officer is facing charges related to the death of her disabled sister last year.

The Mahoning County Coroner concluded Mary Fields died of natural causes due to her condition, but malnutrition and dehydration played a role in her death on Oct. 15, 2015. Investigators are questioning Fields’ malnutrition because she was supposed to be under the care of her sister, Barbara Copeland.

Copeland was hired by the Youngstown Police Department in May 2011. She resigned from her position after her sister’s death, in December 2015, and requested disability separation.

The case was submitted to the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office in January 2016. Police said it’s not uncommon for death or neglect cases involving a coroner’s ruling to take an extended time.

Copeland was indicted by a Mahoning County grand jury on Thursday and is charged with failing to provide for a functionally impaired person.

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