~ Is The Public Safe? ~
CORONER & POLICE
“If the police have reason to suspect a crime, they can take action if they feel they have to,” Lancaster County Coroner Stephen Diamantoni said by phone this morning regarding the mysterious death of Lydia Colon-Torres.
It has been over a month since Diamantoni performed an autopsy on Colon-Torres and he has not released a cause of death nor an indication of whether foul play was involved to the public.
In separate interviews last week and this week with Lancaster Police spokesperson Lt. Todd Umstead and District Attorney Craig Stedman, they disagreed with the coroner. Stedman said that while he knows the Lancaster Police have worked hard on this case, “We’re still waiting for the coroner to make a determination.” Stedman said an arrest cannot be made without the determination that a crime has been committed.
Umstead said the same thing. The police cannot make an arrest unless it is known a crime has been committed.
Diamantoni insisted several times that the police could take action and said at least one policeman was present when the autopsy was performed and that the police have access to the autopsy report as it stands today.
He said her cause of death has not been determined and he is waiting for tissue studies and “historical information” on Colon-Torres before declaring a cause of death. He said he did not know how long that would take. He also would not comment on what he meant by “historical information.” He said “Further investigation is needed into why her body was found where it was and why it was in the river.”
When I said that sounded like the responsibility of the police and not the coroner, he said this was a “very difficult case” and that there are “highly unusual features surrounding the death” of Lydia Colon-Torres.
He also said that when he is working together with law enforcement, he does not release any details. When questioned whether this is in the best interest of the community – if a killer is on the loose – and the emotions of her family, he again stated the police can take action if they feel a crime has been committed. He said her family members will appreciate him “getting this right.”
In the meantime, a neighbor reports that Colon-Torres’ three children are living with her mother and new tenants have moved into the home Colon-Torres lived in on Beaver Street. The neighbor also said of the day she disappeared, September 25, that Colon-Torres was unusually happy. “She acted like she had just won a million bucks and she could spend it all on herself,” the neighbor said.
Please check back tomorrow…