Grieving mom says 'dirty' police detective stole dead son's money after heroin overdose

A police detective in Rock Falls, Illinois has been arrested for stealing more than $1,700 in cash found on the body of a man who died of a heroin overdose. Detective Sgt. Veronica Jaramillo, 43, was taken into police custody on May 17, 2016 by Illinois State Police and charged with theft and official misconduct.

Investigators say the detective was assigned to the dead man's case, and stole the cash from the Rock Falls Police Department evidence locker to pay her own utility bills.

Penny DePotter [WQAD]

Penny DePotter [WQAD]

Penny DePotter, of Dixon, Illinois first told a WQAD-TV reporter it was her son's money that was stolen.

"She took it all, every dollar of it", DePotter said.

Paul "Rodney" DePotter was found dead of a heroin overdose on December 6, 2015. His mother said he had been 21 days clean and sober, but had recently inherited about $2,500 from his grandfather. Police say $1,741 was found on DePotter's body when he died.


"I'm hurt because her bills were more important than my son. And when I called her she said, 'What more do you want me to do'?" She was cold. She was very cold", DePotter told a reporter.

"She's dirty. There's no other way around it. The lowest of the low", she said. "That money was not drug related, they had no right to keep that money. It was not drug-related", she said.

Rock Falls Facebook photo of Jaramillo in 2014 promotion ceremony.

Rock Falls Facebook photo of Jaramillo in 2014 promotion ceremony.

From local news WQAD:

Jaramillo was placed on administrative leave Tuesday, according to the Rock Falls Police Chief Tammy Nelson.

Nelson said that any matters where Jaramillo was the lead investigator would be reviewed and reassigned.

"As this time it does not appear that any investigation or arrest handled by Sergeant Jaramillo will be impacted," said Nelson's statement.

Addiction is a disease. People who die of addiction deserve to be treated with respect. So do their families. May justice be served.

[Related local news coverage:]

Photo courtesy Penny DePotter

Detail from a memorial shrine for Paul "Rodney" DePotter.