Judge seals autopsy reports of Uvalde mass shooting victims

Nov 7, 2022, 8:12 PM
A judge in Uvalde has sealed autopsy reports of those killed during the Robb Elementary School mass...
A judge in Uvalde has sealed autopsy reports of those killed during the Robb Elementary School mass shooting in May. Pictured is a makeshift memorial for the school victims on July 10, in Uvalde, Texas. (Eric Gay/AP via CNN)
(Eric Gay/AP via CNN)

(CNN) — A Texas district court judge in Uvalde has sealed autopsy reports of those killed during the Robb Elementary School mass shooting in May.

Judge Camile Dubose of the 38th District Court on Friday ordered the records be sealed and provided to the local district attorney “for the purpose of assisting in the investigation and potential prosecution or prosecutions” connected to the ongoing investigation.

In a motion to seal the records, prosecutors had argued the autopsies could reveal information that authorities need to preserve until the investigation into the shooting is completed.

“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,” the motion reads.

It is unclear how long the records will remain sealed, with the motion adding they will be hidden “from public inspection until further order of this court.”

The decision comes six months after a gunman stormed into the school and killed 19 children and two teachers inside two adjoining classrooms. Law enforcement from across the state arrived to the school within minutes, but the gunman remained alive in the classrooms for 77 minutes before a tactical unit finally forced their way and killed him, according to a timeline from authorities.

State officials have repeatedly misstated the timeline and the actions of the 376 law enforcement personnel who arrived to the scene, and the Uvalde mayor has accused the Texas Department of Public Safety of a “cover-up.”

Roland Gutierrez, a state senator whose district includes Uvalde, said at a news conference Monday that the families impacted by the massacre should have access to the autopsy records and unsealing the reports are crucial for transparency in the investigation of one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history.

He echoed the frustration and anger of relatives of the victims who have seen a botched response by law enforcement on the day of the shooting and who have called for more openness as agencies investigate what went wrong on May 24.

Gutierrez, a Democrat, said, “The most important thing about these autopsies is to see which children were alive and how long they were alive.”

It remains unclear whether some of those who died might have survived if they had received prompt medical care for their wounds.

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Judge seals autopsy reports of Uvalde mass shooting victims