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Family member speaks out about incident

To the editor:

My family was dealt a blow recently when my cousin died from a genetic heart anomaly. The circumstances of her passing were not suspicious in any way and law enforcement was not involved beyond the first day.

Any normal human being would have looked at this situation and done everything possible to avoid adding to her mom’s, sister’s and brother’s grief. Most people did just that with one notable exception.

An assistant county prosecutor looked at my cousin’s passing and apparently saw an opportunity to be a source of gossip. Witness have described this person as having sent a text message inquiring about any information concerning my cousin’s case to any employee of the medical examiner’s office. The assistant county prosecutor then proceeded to show the reply to someone with whom they were speaking and to then talk about the reply to those who were nearby. To be clear, my cousin’s passing was not suspicious. There was no reason for the prosecutor’s office to be involved at th is point and the death certificate had not been officially released and was, therefore, still subject to confidentially.

The assistant county prosecutor disregarded all of that. Call me naive but I have always thought that the prosecutor’s office was a moral compass for a community. Prosecutors decide which crimes should be adjudicated, who should be leniency and who should be vigorously prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. It is reasonable to expect that the office’s duties are being carried out with due dillegence to the law and circumspection and empathy toward the victims.

It is unclear how this can be happening in our county’s office when someone who currently works as an assistant county prosecutor has not appeared to have received any censure whatsoever from their superior for an offense that at the very least should have constituted a reprimand. The prosecutor’s office stopped taking my aunt’s phone calls after the first day and instead told her that “everyone makes mistakes.” Everyone does. But not everyone is entrusted with the sensitive information involved in a criminal case.

My cousin’s case involved medical information. What other information is being bandied about to anyone who will listen? My family was completely innocent in the passing of my cousin, but more importantly, my cousin was completely innocent. She did not deserve to be used as a source of material for a gossip monger and her family did not deserve to have their grief compounded by said gossip. Our county is better than this and our prosecutor’s office should reflect that.

MICHELLE POSSAGE,

Homeworth

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