Controversy: Coroner Goes Against Court Order... Refuses to Release Autopsy of LV Shooter


It seems that everything connected to the Las Vegas concert shooting is shrouded in mystery and red-flags… and even four months after the tragedy, nobody is able to get straight answers about the crime or the investigation.

The latest piece of the puzzle has to do specifically with Stephen Paddock — or actually, his body. Even though an autopsy was completed months ago, the coroner in the case is refusing to release its findings.

Bizarrely, the medical official is now openly ignoring a judge’s court order and seems to be stalling for time.

“District Court Judge Timothy Williams ordered the coroner Tuesday to immediately release the autopsy,” The Daily Caller reported. But Clark County Nevada Coroner John Fudenberg has so far refused.

“Fudenberg had not complied with the order,” explained the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He indicated he wouldn’t release Paddock’s autopsy report until it was ‘finalized.'”

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The shooting was four months ago. Autopsy reports simply don’t take that long.

Ignoring a court order is a serious issue, and now skeptics and mainstream journalists alike are asking questions about what the coroner seems to be covering up.

“I don’t believe this is consistent with what the court ordered,” protested Maggie McLetchie, an attorney for both the Review-Journal and The Associated Press, which are petitioning to have the autopsy report released.

“They (the coroner’s office) have delayed this for too long, and whatever stage the coroner’s report on Paddock is in, it should be provided to the Review-Journal and Associated Press without further delay,” McLetchie continued. “No more games. Release the records.”

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When the widely-respected AP is saying “no more games,” something is definitely amiss.

“The shooter’s body was cremated Dec. 21. How can the autopsy report not be ‘finalized’ when the body was cremated more than five weeks ago?” asked Review-Journal Editor-in-Chief Keith Moyer. “The law is squarely on the side of the public’s right to open government.”

Journalist groups aren’t the only ones raising major questions about the mysterious delay. Law enforcement veteran and security expert Wayne Black told The Daily Caller that it’s very strange for details in such a high-profile case to be stonewalled like this.

“What’s glaring are the missing details on the autopsy,” Black explained. “This is probably one of the most significant medical examiner’s investigations of the year.”

It’s understandable when a small detail here or there slips though the cracks during a chaotic investigation. The problem with the Vegas shooting and its aftermath is that there aren’t just one or two open questions. The entire investigation has seemed bungled and deceptive from the beginning.

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Contradictions, unanswered questions, constant revisions and bureaucratic excuses that defy plausibility have plagued this case from the start.

The Las Vegas Journal-Review aren’t the only people who are exasperated — all of the country has been looking for answers for months. They’ve received only scraps of truth in a sea of confusion.

The Las Vegas attack affected hundreds of people directly and impacted all of America. Citizens of not only Nevada but all of the United States are owed answers, not deceptions. It’s time for officials to stop dragging their feet and come clean.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.