Updated on June 14 at 11:35 a.m. ET
On Wednesday morning, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Nick Lyon became both the highest-ranking person charged in the ongoing Flint water-crisis investigation. He and four other Michigan officials received the first involuntary manslaughter charges in the investigation as well.
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office charged Lyon with involuntary manslaughter in court in connection to deaths caused by an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which many experts believe occurred because Lyon’s department failed to warn Flint residents of the dangers of their crumbling water infrastructure. His subordinate Eden Wells, the chief medical officer of the department, was also charged with obstruction of justice and lying to a police officer.
Later, during a press conference, Schuette announced that he would be charging four additional officials, including former Flint Emergence Manager Darnell Earley, former state environmental official Liane Shekter-Smith, former Flint Public Works director Howard Croft, and state water supervisor Stephen Busch with manslaughter, in addition to previously announced against them. All five of the involuntary manslaughter charges, including Lyon’s, are linked to the death of Robert Skidmore, who died from Legionnaires’ disease in 2015 before a public outbreak notice was issued.