****Below are the most recent answers to the questions Sherri Warren asked MCPD. Sherri’s response is in red to the answers given.”
I am responding to your e-mail regarding the questions you had regarding Keith’s case. As I know you are aware, the police department met with representatives of the African-American Liaison group as well as Ms. Myrna Taylor regarding an inquiry into this case in 2012. Chief Manger agreed to answer the questions raised by this group and required detectives from the Major Crimes Division to re-interview witnesses to provide answers for you. This extensive inquiry was completed in 2012. Chief Manger made it clear that the department would support re-opening this case if and when new and credible evidence emerges. You were also provided with the case file per your request via our Records Division as well. The questions you have now raised in this closed investigation classified as a suicide have been answered throughout the previous years. This information is provided in officer and detective notes as well as previous interviews as directed by Chief Manger in 2012. I am providing you with the following responses per your request.
1) Clothing was not removed from Keith by the police department and it is not departmental procedure to remove clothing from a victim prior to being taken to a funeral home or a morgue. The department will only take custody of clothing if needed for evidentiary purposes. Therefore, no clothing was given to your family by the police department. (Response by Lt. Thieman, Dec. 6, 1993); Collins Funeral Home provided the clothing returned to the family.
Per ANNOTATED CODE OF MARYLAND HEALTH GENERAL TITLE § 5-309 (e) Personal property.-
(1) If the next of kin of the deceased is not present at the investigation, the police officer
or sheriff at the investigation or, if a police officer or sheriff is not present, the medical
examiner or the investigator shall:
(i) Take possession of all property of value found on the body;
(ii) In the report of the death, make an exact inventory of the property; and
(iii) Deliver the property to the appropriate sheriff or police department.
(2) The sheriff or police department shall surrender the property to the person who is
entitled to its possession or custody.
– It is documented in the police notes given to me that Officer Leverette provided to my uncle the articles of clothing Keith left the house in. Officer Leverette met with my uncle the following day to deliver said items. My uncle is available for interview or comment if necessary. The answer given is a direct contradiction from the information in investigative officers notes and direct contradiction of the Annotated Code Of Maryland Health General Title § 5-309——-This information was provided from the personal notes of Officer Leverette which are in the same case file supplied to me.
2) The decision to conduct autopsy or send the body to the morgue is not a police department decision as we have no authority. This decision was made by the Medical Examiner, Dr. Rogers. There is no documented proof the medical examiner was physically on scene. Going with the argument that the ME was on scene, then why was not the basics of a lividity test done to determine the correct time and day of death? Why was the ME not the officer noted as the individual to pronounce death?—- The question of the ME on scene is not directly answered in notes provided to me
3) This is answered in Det. Beasley’s memorandum dated June 6, 1989 to Colonel Brooks, Chief of Police: “Officer Leverette did not choose the funeral home. I requested Snowden’s Funeral Home because they were the closest to the scene. Snowden advised it would be two hours before they could respond so Collins Funeral Home, as the next closest, was called.” Detective Beasley did not have prior contact with the occupants of the home where the 911 call originated from. –Thank you for the direct answer
4) Det. Beasley noted that while attempting to make the next of kin notification, he interviewed a neighbor who provided information related to Keith’s prior mental history. – Detective Beasley used information from an unrelated, unknown, and un-documented source to base a determination of suicide in the death of Keith Warren. In short Detective Beasley used “hearsay” to conclude Keith Warren committed “suicide”—- This is unsettling because this particular fact alone should move to reclassify this case.
****Please note my original question was “how” did Det Beasley know Keith Warrens prior mental history at the scene prior to “witness interviews.” Per police notes no interviews were conducted until after the body was released from scene. Detective Beasley was aware of Keith Warren’s mental history 7 hours prior to notification from the family and “witness” interviews.
Per Annotated Code Of Maryland Health General Title § 5-309 (c) Investigation by medical examiner.- Immediately on notification that a medical examiner’s case has occurred, the medical examiner or an investigator of the medical examiner shall go to and take charge of the body. The medical examiner or the investigator shall investigate fully the essential facts concerning the medical cause of death and, before leaving the premises, reduce these facts and the names and addresses of witnesses to writing, which shall be filed in the medical examiner’s office.- (In the death of Keith Warren unrelated, unnamed, and unconfirmed witness information is used to justify the ruling as suicide and there was not identifying information on witness’s given on any supplied documented report)
5) Via the notes provided by Det. Beasley, the representative from Collins Funeral Home, Mike Bigler was interviewed on August 18, 1986 who advised that no permission was given for embalming until the family arrived the following morning at 1000 hours. – Per my uncle who identified Keith’s body, he was not given access to the body until after 3 trip and 24hours later (1pm). Once again my uncle is available for questions. Here again is a “hearsay” conversation with no noted documentation to confirmed information.
6) The Chief of the Investigative Services Bureau authorized the tree to be cut down and further examined. This evidence was collected and examined due to the disputed findings regarding the investigation from the family. The tree was examined for burn marks that would have indicated hoisting by another individual and no such marks were found. This case was determined closed at the time the tree was cut down. –The evidence was collected 1 month after burial not the time of discovery of the body.Per a meeting with Detective Beasley approx. 1 week after burial which I was witnessed too and sat in with my mother, Detective Beasley emphatically stated the case was closed and “No further investigation will be required”. This comment is not “hearsay” as I personally heard it.
7) The noose was not lost but believed to be destroyed in evidence as a result of being involved in a closed case. This is normal procedure for evidence involved in these types of cases. There is documentation that a Chief directed early in the investigation not to release the noose to your mother. We have no further documentation related to this matter or decision. – So if the case was closed and no further investigation was implemented why was the noose destroyed? Why was it withheld from my family? Why was evidence held onto if the case was closed per the conversation me and my mother had with Detective Beasley?
8) Dr. Rogers, the Medical Examiner, determined the time and date of death. This information is based upon the Medical Examiner’s Office and the Police Department has no comment on any corrective action being taken. There is a different process now as the Medical Examiner has Forensic Investigators who report directly to them and who respond to scenes for consultations. This is said with great respect ; The act of implementing new policy and procedure alone should serve as grounds to reinvestigate the death of Keith Warren and reclassify cause of death as “undetermined”.
9 & 10) It is noted in Detective Beasley’s notes that Dr. Rogers arrived on scene and it is confirmed that Dr. Rogers was present. Law enforcement officers are certified First Responders by the State of Maryland and the laws allows for police to pronounce death on the scene. If this fact were to be true, then why is Officer Leverette noted as person who pronounced and not the ME on scene. As stated in answer given in response to question #4 Detective Beasley stated he was the one who obtained information from an unnamed, unidentified and unrelated source which was then provided on the ME investigative report to justify the classification of death as a suicide. In my opinion either the ME or Detective Beasley are/were not completely forth coming.
11) The Medical Examiner’s Office will have to answer this question.
12) Please see the answer to #6.
The above information was gathered from notes, letters and reports provided in the case files. This information is part of Det. Beasley’s interview in 2012 by Capt. Gillespie and his case notes.
Capt. Jones, I appreciate your work in attempting to help me get closure in the death of my only sibling. However, as you can see by my response to all answers given it is as if salt has been poured on my open wounds. I ask you take a moment and put yourself in my position, if this were your brother, son, father, uncle, grandson, or cousin how would you respond? As I have stated in the past, I cannot with 100% certainty say that without a doubt Keith did not put himself on the tree, however given the answers from MCPD documentation, given the answers from MCPD uniformed agents and given common sense MCPD cannot say for certainty Keith did put himself on the tree. It is the expectation of every citizen of the State of Maryland and residence of Montgomery County that those who wear a uniform or carry a badge and take a sworn oath to protect and serve, do their jobs with integrity and strength of character. I close with this quote; “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.”.-Chinua Achebe