LICKING, Mo. – New findings show an animal tranquilizer has killed a second inmate at South Central Correctional Center in Licking.
Alan Lancaster was 13 years into a 20-year sentence at the state men’s prison when he died on Jan. 28. It’s the same facility where KOLR10 Investigates uncovered a dozen men died in 2022, mostly from drug overdoses. The prison has repeatedly failed to answer how drugs are getting into the prison.
“Why was it laced with that stuff?” said Lancaster’s mother, Mary Harris. “That’s a tranquilizer for animals. He’s not an animal.”
The toxicology report conducted following the 39-year-old’s death shows he had both fentanyl and xylazine in his system when he died. The level of fentanyl was not high even to be toxic, meaning xylazine, the non-opioid veterinary sedative is what killed him. Xylazine is not approved for human use.
Harris said the toxicology results are especially concerning because her son was in solitary confinement.
“I’m not just going to let them get away with this,” said Harris. “I’m going to see if I can protest up there. I called the legislature. I called the NAACP. I called the governor.”
KOLR10 Investigates has asked the Missouri Department of Corrections to confirm who had access to Lancaster’s cell the day he died. At the time of publication, MDOC has not responded. Harris said her son was eligible for parole in 2026.
Texas County Coroner Marie Lasater estimates only five or six people in Missouri have died from xylazine to date. The drug is becoming more prevalent among drug-users nationwide, especially in Pennsylvania, Lasater said.
KOLR10 Investigates reported on the first xylazine death in Texas County last fall. The autopsy results for 42-year-old Terrell Dawson show he died from mixed drug toxicity of both fentanyl and xylazine.
Some veterinary supply stores sell xylazine online with a vet’s prescription. The drug is becoming more commonly referred to as the ‘zombie drug’ or ‘tranq’ because of its skin-rotting properties.
The coroner doesn’t believe Lancaster was regularly using xylazine because he did not have any lesions on his body.