Murder Victim's Family Petitions To Have Autopsy Sealed

Thursday, March 1st 2012, 10:17 pm
By: News 9

News 9 has uncovered a lot of the disturbing details surrounding the torture and murder of 19-year-old Carina Saunders. Bethany police discovered her body dismembered and stuffed in a duffle bag in October 2011.

Now her family is saying the public doesn't need to know any more than that.

Family and friends began making calls the moment the medical examiner released information indicating Carina Saunders died from a "violent death." The family made a plea to the ME's office, police, and the attorney general asking to seal the autopsy report.

Carina Saunder's sister, Sara Saunders, is speaking out about the possible release of information.

"We know she is not coming back and you don't need to know anything else. It's just too much and the family can't handle it."

After several calls made to the medical examiner's office, a spokeswoman announced the chief medical examiner will not release the autopsy report.

Wording in the law suggest that the decision is illegal but Saunders' family says the chief medical examiner is willing to break the law for two reasons: one is to protect the family from more pain and the second is to preserve the investigation.

Bethany Police Chief Phil Cole explains how releasing the report could hurt the investigation,

"The autopsy report will contain information that only a suspect will know and it is critical to us to keep that confidential."

Chief Cole says some investigative files in this case are currently sealed.

Only the Oklahoma attorney general can determine if autopsy reports should be considered investigative and kept private under the Open Records Act.

Family and friends want to convince Attorney General Scott Pruitt to rule in favor of the family and their best interest.

Carina's cousin, Kati Bloodworth, is one of several people organizing a rally at the attorney general's office.

"I'm afraid (the release of the autopsy) might hinder the investigation."

A friend of the family, Nick Wilkerson agrees,

"As much as I already know, I don't want to know the rest of the details."

Family and friends are hoping now that if the chief medical examiner is respecting their wishes, maybe others will too.

Sara Saunders explains, "He is willing to lose his job, to go to jail to keep the family from feeling worse than we already feel. That's one person and hopefully more people will show up and show their humanity."

The family is rallying at the attorney general's office at 1 p.m. Friday.

We tried to contact the AG's office, but calls were not returned by the time this story aired.

A spokeswoman for the medical examiner says an assistant attorney general found wording in the law that supports the ME's decision.

To find the online petition asking to have the autopsy sealed, click here.