Autopsies sealed in ongoing investigation

Christina Mitchell

The results of autopsies performed on the victims of the Robb Elementary shooting, which were turned over to Uvalde County Justice of the Peace Lalo Diaz on Nov. 4, have been sealed by court order.

Thirty-eighth Judicial District Attorney Christina Mitchell signed the “motion to seal autopsy records” on Nov. 7, including those of the killer Salvador Ramos. District Judge Camile DuBose approved the order the same day.

In her motion, Mitchell cited the “graphic details of injuries as well as the cause and manner of death” as reasons to keep the autopsies from public inspection. The motion added that the Texas Rangers are currently investigating “potential crimes by individuals responsible for the health and welfare of the victims of Robb Elementary school.”

According to the motion, “the types, number and manner in which injuries were inflicted in this case includes information vital to the investigation, apprehension and potential prosecution of individuals that may be criminally responsible.”

Mitchell also outlined the need to keep the records from public view to help ensure a fair trial for any defendants should criminal charges be filed. “Releasing the details of the wounds inflicted … would unnecessarily flood the airways with highly emotionally charged information jeopardizing the fair resolution of a prosecution by the state.”

The district attorney cited case law where public records were withheld due to an “an incident involving allegedly criminal conduct” that was still under investigation or prosecution.

Diaz submitted the autopsy requests on the day of the May 24 shooting. He said the results from the Bexar County Medical Examiner came sooner than expected.

According to Mitchell, the next step will be for “medical professionals” to review the autopsies. She added that her investigation “will not likely conclude before spring.”

Mitchell also expressed concern over ongoing leaks of investigative material to the press, adding that was part of her motivation to seal the autopsies.