Thursday, September 28, 2006

More Theft Cases Probed In Coroner's Office

Although Coroner Kenneth Ackles has maintained that the theft of $3,000 from a dead man last year by someone in his office was an isolated incident, Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi tells the Star that there are more cases involving stealing from the dead under investigation. The Star's Brendan O'Shaughnessy reports today:

The Marion County prosecutor's investigation of the coroner's office includes the handling of a 70-year-old woman's death in a car crash, according to a court document released Wednesday. It also includes the death of Mooresville resident Brad A. Johnson, 29, in December 2004.

The document -- an affidavit filed in obtaining a search warrant -- doesn't shed further light on the Johnson case. Nor does it include any more than the name of Northside resident Dorothy McCain, who died in late August when her Nissan Maxima collided with a van at Grandview Drive and Horizon Lane on the Northside.

Prosecutor Carl Brizzi declined to say exactly what he was looking into in these cases. But he said they involve potential theft from corpses at the coroner's office and inadequate efforts to notify family members about the deaths of loved ones.

Brizzi's office has been investigating such allegations for the past few weeks, and until Tuesday, it was believed he was focusing primarily on two cases.

On Wednesday, Brizzi said his investigators had fielded calls from three or four more families with similar complaints since his office served the highly publicized search warrant on the coroner's office the day before.

O'Shaughnessy's report also notes that 3 of the 7 death investigations involve the premature babies who were accidentally overdosed with Heparin at Methodist Hospital. O'Shaughnessy says Ackles declined comment about allegations that property was stolen from other dead bodies.

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