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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : local February 06, 2016

10/2/2013 10:16:00 AM
Media requests for firefighter autopsies dropped

PHOENIX - The Arizona Republic and KPNX-TV are dropping efforts to obtain the autopsy reports of 19 firefighters who died while battling a blaze in Yarnell.

The news organizations filed suit last month against the Yavapai County Medical Examiner's Office and the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office, seeking records related to the June 30 fatalities and ensuing investigations.

The Republic reported Monday that the outlets are seeking to dismiss the medical examiner from the lawsuit.

David Bodney, an attorney for the Gannett-owned news organizations, says autopsy reports are no longer needed since investigative findings released Saturday provided much of the information sought.

The Daily Courier of Prescott has reported that some firefighters' family members were fighting to keep their autopsy records sealed.

"Seriously, that is amazing," exclaimed Marsena Thurston, wife of fallen Hotshot Joe Thurston. "I am so happy, what a relief."

"We are so thankful for all of the support we got from the community through messages I got on Facebook and the comments they posted on the Courier's website, Thurston added.

However, the lawsuit still seeks records from the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office.

"I think the sheriff's department has a lot of graphic images from the scene," said Stephanie Turbyfill, wife of fallen Hotshot Travis Turbyfill. "It would be a bigger relief if they just dropped it all. I think that they think this would be a good compromise and that they are doing us a favor, but still what they're wanting is way too much."

ICT - Arizona Society of CPAs 180x150

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, October 03, 2013
Article comment by: To S. Farrell

It would behoove your state of mind to re-familiarize yourself with our nation's governing documents.

That would be the United States Constitution.

Please pay particular attention to the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

Posted: Thursday, October 03, 2013
Article comment by: Thank God

What a relief for these families!! Hopefully the other suits are all dropped as well! Keep strong ladies! This is a fight you will win! It is nice to see a positive story in the paper surrounding this situation. It was cumbersome to continue reading about just the one squeaky wheel with absurd demands. Thank you to those who are working to give the families the peace much needed and the dignity to the men that is over due!

Posted: Thursday, October 03, 2013
Article comment by: Sassy Lynn

@ S. Farrell....

The Freedom of Information Act is a Federal law. The Hotshots were Federal employees. A change at state level would not prevent such requests in the future.

Posted: Thursday, October 03, 2013
Article comment by: Kinda Pathetic

They drop the suit against the ME, but not the YCSO!
These vultures basically want their way no matter what it costs to the families involved.
SENSATIONALISM OVER VALUES is their mission statement!!!!!

Posted: Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Article comment by: S. Farrell

Glad part of this is over, and mind as well be the rest. I still say an effort to pass a law in AZ to prevent this really needs to happen. Just because they dropped part in no way means they wont do it again. This also does not mean anyone else may not try this in the future. It needs to be stopped so this cant happen or happen again. We need full protection now and for anyone for any case in the future.

Posted: Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Article comment by: tired of it all

OR a mass email campaign by the folks of this area scared them!!!!

Posted: Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Article comment by: Alex H

It may all come out if one or more of the surviving family decide to file a lawsuit for more money. This is sort of a check and balance to prevent greed.

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