Sept. 19, 2003 – A federal grand jury's indictment on St. Thomas of a local physician was little consolation on Friday to a mother whose son died on the island two years ago from an overdose of drugs the doctor is accused of prescribing illegally.
Aaron Houle was "loved by everyone," his mother, Jane, wrote in an e-mail plea to the Source in June 2001 asking for help in getting to the bottom of her son's death.
"We know Aaron did do drugs, but it was marijuana. He was not into pills," Jane Houle said. "But maybe when you're having a great time and drinking — being in a beautiful place, you do things you would not normally do."
Aaron died at the age of 26 from an overdose of OxyContin allegedly prescribed on May 23, 2001, by Dr. Paul Maynard
Aaron had come to St. Thomas to visit friends from his New Hampshire hometown who were living and working here. On May 26, 2001, after partying with those friends and other, he went to bed at 8:30 p.m. and never woke up.
His parents have spent more than two years trying to get answers about how their son died, asking for help from the police and the medical examiner in the Virgin Islands. At one point, they were told they would have to wait six weeks even to get a report of the time of Aaron's death. That is when they got in touch with the Source.
Two years ago Timothy Houle, Aaron's father, and his wife were angry, frustrated and grieving. They felt that none of the government officials on St. Thomas cared about or understood their pain. Phone call after phone call to local authorities netted no answers for the New Hampshire couple, who have one other child, a daughter, Allison.
The Houles knew that Aaron had gotten the prescription from a local physician. Just before Aaron's funeral, one of his friends who had been with him on St. Thomas admitted to having taken Aaron to "some doctor" for a prescription. The friend later named the doctor.
At a press conference on Friday where Maynard's indictment was announced, Charles Graham, special agent with the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, said investigation of the case started 20 months ago with a report to the New Hampshire FBI.
Jane Houle said on Friday that she is glad something has "finally happened." But "it can't bring Aaron back."
She said she still feels "like I'm dying from a broken heart." It might be easier if he hadn't been such a good kid, she said. But "Aaron was really lovable."
"This much time has gone by, and I still can't believe" that Aaron is gone, she said.
There were 250 people, friends of Aaron's, at his funeral. Some of them still come by the Houles' home for dinner, she said.
Sometimes her husband goes "riding with them" on the motorcycle Aaron bought just before his trip to the Virgin Islands, a trip from which he returned in a casket.
Timothy Houle finds some solace in riding their son's motorcycle and from spending time with some of Aaron's friends. "Lately he seems to be doing a little better," his wife said.
Jane Houle "sees someone" every two weeks, and she said it is helping some.
"I know I have to move on. I think I might start painting or something," she said. Then she added that Aaron loved to paint.
But Jane Houle knows that while counseling and painting and time may help, the emotional wound of losing a child is one that never completely heals.
Maynard has been charged with 170 counts of distributing controlled substances illegally. The first count of the indictment charges him with the "distribution and dispensing of a controlled substance without a legitimate medical purpose and beyond the bounds of medical practice to various individuals which resulted in the death of one of them."
If convicted of that count, Maynard could face life imprisonment. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in jail and a $1 million fine.
All but one of Counts 2 through 170 each carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years for distribution of "schedule II controlled substances," which include OxyContin and other narcotics. Count 4 charges Maynard with illegally distributing a schedule III drug, Vicodin, which carries a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney David Nissman has asked that if Maynard is convicted of the charges, he also be forced to forfeit his license to practice medicine and the property in Estate Thomas where his medical practice is located.

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  1. In the 20 years since Aaron’s passing Jane Houle has passed away. Jane and Tim’s daughter is also deceased and today I heard that Tim Houle passed. I hope the family is now at peace. I came across this article and I thought people should be aware of the unfortunate circumstances this family has been through. I feel Aaron’s passing set off a chain of events of complete heartache for the family.

  2. I couldn’t agree with you more, Erik. One tragedy after another. I am hoping they are all at peace now also. Hopefully they are together as a family again. ❤


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