The recent case involving a human skull found near Downriver Golf Course is further evidence of unnecessary secrecy and on the lack of public accountability by the Spokane County Medical Examiner’s Office and related police agencies.
The medical examiner (who answers to the Spokane County commissioners) disclosed last week that investigators had determined the decedent’s identity. But the medical examiner wouldn’t release the identity or how it was determined. (What? Worried about the legal impossibility of invading the privacy of someone who died 97 years ago?)
Nor would the examiner’s office disclose the “final resting spot” from where the skull was stolen. (Grave robbery is an unspeakable felony. Doesn’t the public have a right to know where such crimes are occurring and related details, including possible motives?)
For agencies promoting “community policing,” all the details about this despicable act should be made public so the public’s eyes and ears can help solve the crime.
Before the bureaucracy associated with the medical examiner system, back when Spokane County had an elected coroner, these details would have been immediately provided to the public. And local police agencies wouldn’t have all the public-trust issues they now face.
Bill Morlin, former Spokesman-Review reporter