SUICIDES OR MURDERS?Posted on June 25th, 2012 15 comments
A HUGE COVER-UP!
My fifth Right-To-Know request to find out if autopsies had been performed on Louise Ward and Isabel Bortree was hand delivered on June 15, 2012 and my request was as follows:
The list of all autopsies performed at the Lancaster County Morgue (including deceased’s name) for the period of March 27, 2012 through April 8, 2012.
I received this response late this past Friday afternoon:
Dear Ms. Holzinger:
Thank you for writing to the County of Lancaster Open Records Office with your request for information pursuant to the Pennsylvania Right to Know law.
On June 15, 2012 the County of Lancaster Open Records Officer received your request for a list of autopsies performed at the Lancaster County Morgue, including deceased’s name, for the period of March 27, 2012 to April 8, 2012.
Your request has been granted. The list of autopsies performed at the Lancaster County Morgue for the period March 27, 2012 to April 8, 2012 is as follows:
Georgia Felder Margaret Richartz
Sean Okane Catherine Dallas
Christopher Thompson Paula Davey
Julie Fox Henry Good
Please be advised that this correspondence will serve to close this record with our office as permitted by law.
Open Records Officer
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Louise Ward died on March 28th and Isabel Bortree on April 4th. Obviously, their names do not appear on the above list.
With the internet, Lancaster Online continually updates and makes changes in their stories. However, the original sentences were captured on the Lanctalk.com forum regarding the death of Louise Ward (click here):
Officials said a deceased man found hanging in a tree Wednesday evening in Elizabethtown likely took his own life. Emergency responders were called to 75 E. High St. around 6:30 p.m. for a report of a person hanging in a tree near Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church. According to dispatch reports, it…
It was posted at 9:44 pm the night of her death. The newspaper was incorrectly reporting it was a man, but within the three hours and fifteen minutes they were already stating that the victim likely took their own life.
In fact, the last comment under that thread is from me, the following morning posted at 11:12 am saying they had just changed it from a man to a woman.
Isabel Bortree’s body was found less than a week later at about 7:00 am. Less than four hours later this was also declared a suicide and it is captured once again by the LancTalk forum at 10:57 am when the story went up as follows (click here):
A woman was found hanging from a tree in the woods behind Burle Industrial Park this morning, the second such suicide in a week in the county. A passing motorist saw the woman from the Walnut Street extension, which runs past the rear of the Burle property, and reported it to police. A county corone…
Unbelievable. Simply Unbelievable.
No wonder the coroner tried to hide the fact that no autopsies had been performed for almost two months.
There will be much, much more tomorrow.
15 responses to “SUICIDES OR MURDERS?”
Here’s something else I was thinking as I read these threads.
There are any number of suicides that occur and don’t make the newspapers. Even the obits don’t note that a suicide has happened in this day and age of families writing the obituaries for the papers.
Obviously, these two ‘suicides’ were deemed newsworthy and reported as such. You would think that if such an event was newsworthy that it is also an unusual event. Why the coroner didn’t investigate further just doesn’t make sense. Even if the families both said that they weren’t shocked or that the person was depressed etc., that isn’t enough evidence to close the books.
Were these women cremated? If so, there really isn’t any further investigation that could be performed I would imagine.
Did the coroners office take tissue samples?
huH?, I don’t know if tissue samples were taken or not. Or if the ropes were saved from each one. I will try to find out. Pictures had to be taken and I assume kept with some kind of police report on these cases. Since they were officially ruled suicides (more on that tomorrow) I think the public should have access to them.
But most importantly an investigation needs to be done into why this coroner failed to do his duty and perform autopsies on both of these women. Unbelievable!
huh? If the women were cremaated, then on top of every other reason the coroner should have done an autopsy I believe this would clearly apply:
(9) deaths of persons whose bodies are to be cremated, buried at sea or otherwise disposed of so as to be thereafter unavailable for examination;
suzieq June 25th, 2012 at 18:15
It just occured to me..the cororner has a very new, plushy, state of the art building by the health campus in Lancaster. Wonder what that cost? My point, maybe Steadman said I will give you your building Dr. D..just “rule” my way buddy. Nothing else makes sense. I would think if there is any hint of these gals being murdered, or just to rule it out..lets get it done. Lets not forget about the murdered elderly gal in Lancaster that has become so hush~hush. Is there a way to get answers, or to challenge these decisions? Also, what about the Martin gal who loaned her apt, and her drugs to the fellow who died in Reinholds? Will she ever be charged?
susieq – I don’t think Heather Martin will ever be charged. Her soma was not a controlled substance at the time of his death – it was later added to the controlled substance list. I’m sure they could bring some charge if they wanted to do so but I’m sure they won’t. I think Heather is clear.
Dr D has an office at the health campus where he is a general dr. Is there another one suzieq?
suzieq June 25th, 2012 at 19:52
It is the new cororners facility. I do not know what it is called for sure, but they did or will soon move from Conestoga View on King Street to this new facility. I am not sure of any of the details…but I will hunt some down. This is right near the health campus…
suzieq June 25th, 2012 at 20:34
I found an older article on the wgal website. It says this new cororners place will be a 13,000 sq ft forensic center, that Dr. D. is calling a medical milestone. It is estimated to be a six million dollar project..and it is scheduled to open September of this year, 2012. The article states it will be across the street from the Health Campus. Dr D. has an office, well, an entire floor now at the gov center in Lancaster,150 Queen, that he uses for cororner business,and meeting with families when his office has performed an autopsy.Dr. D. does not participate at the actual autopsy. He just makes the decisions. Kinda funny we have not heard alot of “hoopla” regarding this facility.
Lancaster County breaks ground on new forensic center
Lancaster New Era
Updated Sep 26, 2011 22:46
By P.J. REILLY
Lancaster County officials on Monday broke ground for a new $6.4 million forensic center to be built in East Hempfield Township.
Once finished, the 13,200-square-foot, state-of-the-art county facility will replace the 1960s-era morgue at 900 E. King St.
And it will end an odyssey to build a new morgue that began in 2005, when former county coroner Gary Kirchner spoke out about the current facility’s outdated and insufficient amenities and equipment.
Various sites for the building were considered over the years by the current and former boards of county commissioners, until current commissioners Scott Martin, Dennis Stuckey and Craig Lehman settled on the East Hempfield tract.
It’s at 2080 Spring Valley Road, between Rohrerstown Road and Good Drive, on property owned by Lancaster General Health.
The county will lease the land from Lancaster General but will own the building.
The one-story structure will have laboratories for autopsies and other examinations, ample cooler space for body storage, an enclosed sally port for the delivery of bodies and private viewing areas for family members.
It also will serve as the new office for the county coroner, replacing the office in the county administration building at 150 N. Queen St.
Designed by L. R. Kimball Associates of Harrisburg and McClaren, Wilson and Laurie Inc. of Richmond, Va., the building will be constructed by general contractor Caldwell, Heckles & Egan of Lancaster, electrical contractor The Farfield Co. of Lititz, mechanical contractor Frey Lutz Corp. of Lancaster and plumbing contractor TMI Commercial Inc. of Honey Brook.
Construction is expected to be finished by the end of 2012.
WOW…..thanks for the info.Suzieq and Tj.
suzieq June 25th, 2012 at 22:23
Thanks TJ! I would like to ride by the area and see the progress. I wonder why this has not been on the news of any kind…seems like it is kinda big news!
I just saw the building today. It is right across from the new LGH Barshinger Cancer Center. The forensics center looks mostly complete.
I didn’t have my camera or I would have taken a pic to post.
TJ – I have a question for you. A while back you said this about the police:
If you have PROOF of corruption or unethical behavior, fine. Go through the proper procedures and make it known.
What are those”proper procedures” and what do you mean “make it known?” I have a website for crying out loud and can’t do anything because the old boy network in Lancaster, including LNP obviously, is too strong. And what do you mean by “PROOF.” That’s subjective. But what are the proper procdures and to whom do I report it?
I don’t know how strong your proof is and what kind of documentation you have. You have to have something concrete to get anyone to sit up and take notice.
If all you have is rumors or hearsay, you won’t get anyone to listen. You have to find a way to get something concrete. That is really hard.
Yes, Lancaster County is very protective of its own, no matter how its own stinks and is a disgrace. LNP is just about useless now as a government watchdog. It makes me sick to have to say that, but unfortunately, it is true.
I would need to know what you are searching for to help in figuring out a way to get concrete proof, if there is a way.
If you have something concrete or worthy of getting attention, without my doing research, I would say the first place to start would be the district attorney’s office.
I say that because in Pennsylvania the district attorney is the chief law enforcement officer of the county.
And just a quick Google search gave me this from Luzerne County’s web site: “and under the constitution and laws of the state, [the district attorney] is responsible for the investigation and prosecution of all crimes and offenses committed in the county. The district attorney is an elected official, accountable to the governor for the performance of his or her prosecutorial duties.”
If it is true in Luzerne County, it is true in Lancaster County.
Contact Stedman and tell him what you have. Document your conversation, noting what you told him, time, date, etc. Ask him if he can investigate what you have told him and let you know why or why not his office can take legal action on what you have given him.
Ask him when you can contact him again to find out if his office will take action. Continue to contact him until you get an answer. Document all of your contacts with him, noting what he tells you, was it in person or by phone or email, time, date, etc.
If you can’t get any help, contact the governor’s office and ask to whom you should speak concerning the issue, explaining that you have already contacted the Lancaster County district attorney and got no help or do not feel the issue was handled properly.
If you know of any lawyers that know about government, contact him or her to find out how a citizen can pursue an issue such as what you have in mind.
I would also contact the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association attorney to get some guidance. In a 60-second search, I came up with these names. I would start with these people. If these aren’t the right people, ask one of them who you should contact.
Melissa Melewsky, Media Law Counsel (717) 703-3048, firstname.lastname@example.org
Deborah Musselman, Director of Government Affairs, (717) 703-3077, email@example.com
Angela Zaydon, Director, Legal & Public Policy, (717) 703-3032 firstname.lastname@example.org
This is how I would begin. You ask each person you contact, who else you could contact to get help with what you are trying to do. Sometimes it is like finding a needle in a haystack.
We have emailed in the past. If you still have my email address, and want to share some of what you suspect, send me an email. I might be able to give you an opinion or guidance. It will remain confidential. I understand if you don’t want to divulge to me what you have.
Good luck. I hope this helps.
Thank you very much, TJ! And I’ll probably email you in a day or two. Thank you so much.