Are there any public records confirming unsolved deaths/ homicides?
June 27, 2018 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Some years ago, a tenant of my parents’ died on their property in Virginia in what the local media described as a suspicious death. After a seemingly large initial investigation, and a few weeks of news items complete with anonymous tip lines, there was suddenly silence. As far as I know, there was never any public notice made as to the nature of the death. I’m wondering, is there any way to find out anything, namely about whether this death was ruled due to natural causes or not?

Again, this happened in Virginia, where autopsies are considered medical, rather than public, records, and where death certificates become public after 25 years, still a long ways away. The person was estranged from their family, and my family’s only communications with the deceased’s were fraught with tension; i.e. getting any info from them is likely out of the question. Beyond that, the person did not seem to have any kind of social media presence, so that too is probably not viable.

I suspect there is nothing we can do beyond waiting ~20 years for the death certificate to become public, but I’m hoping someone might know of some avenue I’m not yet aware of.
posted by teekat to Law & Government (4 answers total)
Have you considered hiring a private investigator?
posted by slipthought at 12:01 PM on June 27, 2018 [2 favorites]

This may need to be part of the notification that needs to go to future owners as part of a sale... unlesswgat you have is already considered enough
posted by tilde at 2:19 PM on June 27, 2018

According to Criminal Minds (jk), you ought to be able to walk into the police station and find the detective who worked on the case. I don't believe the officer's recollections would be considered sensitive or legally confidential, unless specifically sealed by a court. How about visiting the police in person and just asking them? Or likewise, the reporters or editors who worked on the newspaper stories?
posted by JimN2TAW at 12:14 PM on June 28, 2018

Thanks all. A PI is something I hadn’t considered, and that does look promising. Inquiring at the station would probably be a good next step.
posted by teekat at 10:33 AM on June 29, 2018

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