No wrongdoing found by Spokane Medical Examiners in 14 autopsies - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

No wrongdoing found by Spokane Medical Examiners in 14 autopsies

Posted: Updated:
Kala Williams (left) and Heather Higgins Kala Williams (left) and Heather Higgins
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Fourteen victims' families finally have some answers after months of waiting, although it likely isn’t what they were hoping for. After nearly a year of investigating, The Washington Department of Health says Spokane’s Medical Examiners “met the standard of care” in the autopsies they were asked to review.

"There were 14 investigations on the two ME's that were considered at the March 1 WMC (Washington Medical Commission) meeting," said Micah T. Matthews with the WMC through an email Tuesday afternoon. "The investigations were reviewed by an outside expert, a pathologist with experience as a medical examiner."

The investigations were launched after complaints were made last spring. One of the 14 cases that was reviewed was that of Kala Williams. Williams was found dismembered in 2012. Her body parts were placed in a sleeping bag and trash bags. Despite the gruesome nature of her remains, her manner of death was ruled to be "undetermined" instead of "homicide."

Officials with the Washington Medical Commission also said, " The job of the WMC investigation in most cases is to determine if the practitioner met the standard of care in treating the patient or avoiding patient harm. As these were death determinations, the standard of care shifts from patient harm to following protocol, procedure, and best practice as it relates to pathology and the practice of a medical examiner. The WMC has no ability reverse death findings of medical examiners, but there is a pathway for judicial review of those findings available to the public through the following law: RCW 68.50.015. In these cases, the expert found the two MEs did in fact meet the standard of care. After consideration of the 14 investigations and the expert review, a panel of Commissioners closed the investigations as having met the standard of care."

Kala's aunt Julie Beauchanie said the entire ordeal has been heartbreaking. She said she's not giving up hope that there will one day be justice for Kala.

"We are sick to our stomachs," she said. "Kala's whole family is standing behind her angle wings waiting for her to be in heaven in peace."

You'll recall in our previous coverage, that SPD also reached out to another pathologist to review Kala Williams case. Records show his expert opinion was that this was in fact a homicide. Documents show SPD did want a suspect charged in her case after the suspect's DNA was found with her remains. Despite their request for charges, he was never charged with anything to do with Kala Williams.

Police documents show SPD suspects that same suspect is also tied to the disappearance of another Spokane woman, Heather Higgins. She vanished back in 2010. Despite her body never being found, detectives believe she was murdered.

The suspect identified in documents in both Higgins' case and Williams' is currently in prison for violating attacking another woman in Idaho.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Coeur d'Alene Police investigating school shooting threat made on Snapchat

    Coeur d'Alene Police investigating school shooting threat made on Snapchat

    Friday, October 19 2018 1:04 AM EDT2018-10-19 05:04:39 GMT

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d'Alene Police are investigating a reported school shooting threat at Coeur d'Alene High School. A spokesperson for the district said that the threat was written on a napkin and shared  on Snapchat. It says: "CHS school shooting 10-19-18. Be ready." Police tell us that while they are still investigating whether the threat is credible, they do not believe the CHS that the note mentions is referring to Coeur d'Alene High School.

    >>

    COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Coeur d'Alene Police are investigating a reported school shooting threat at Coeur d'Alene High School. A spokesperson for the district said that the threat was written on a napkin and shared  on Snapchat. It says: "CHS school shooting 10-19-18. Be ready." Police tell us that while they are still investigating whether the threat is credible, they do not believe the CHS that the note mentions is referring to Coeur d'Alene High School.

    >>
  • Explosive device that caused CdA evacuations rendered safe

    Explosive device that caused CdA evacuations rendered safe

    Friday, October 19 2018 6:51 PM EDT2018-10-19 22:51:23 GMT

    Ramsey Elementary and Coeur d' Alene Police station have been evacuated after an explosive device was brought to the station for disposal. Police have called in a bomb squad to dispose of the device and evacuated the buildings as a precaution. Coeur d' Alene School District released the following statement regarding the situation: 

    >>

    Ramsey Elementary and Coeur d' Alene Police station have been evacuated after an explosive device was brought to the station for disposal. Police have called in a bomb squad to dispose of the device and evacuated the buildings as a precaution. Coeur d' Alene School District released the following statement regarding the situation: 

    >>
  • K9 Laslo passes away

    K9 Laslo passes away

    Friday, October 19 2018 10:50 PM EDT2018-10-20 02:50:33 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - After struggling with medical issues recently, retired Spokane County Sheriff's Office K9 Laslo passed away early Friday morning.  "It is with the most heavy heart that I tell you K9 Laslo passed away this morning at 0115hrs," a post on Laslo's Facebook page said Friday morning. "There will be a piece of my heart always missing. To the best partner I ever had, R.I.P." 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - After struggling with medical issues recently, retired Spokane County Sheriff's Office K9 Laslo passed away early Friday morning.  "It is with the most heavy heart that I tell you K9 Laslo passed away this morning at 0115hrs," a post on Laslo's Facebook page said Friday morning. "There will be a piece of my heart always missing. To the best partner I ever had, R.I.P." 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Montana woman pleads guilty to stealing thousands from mother with cancer

    Montana woman pleads guilty to stealing thousands from mother with cancer

    Saturday, October 20 2018 1:23 PM EDT2018-10-20 17:23:10 GMT

    A Butte woman has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $27,000 from her 72-year-old mother, who has cancer.  The Montana Standard reports 40-year-old Marissa Monet Curnow entered the plea Thursday in a deal with prosecutors that calls for her to repay the money but avoid prison.    The judge told Curnow he isn't bound by the agreement and could sentence her to 10 years in prison. Curnow said she understood. 

    >>

    A Butte woman has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $27,000 from her 72-year-old mother, who has cancer.  The Montana Standard reports 40-year-old Marissa Monet Curnow entered the plea Thursday in a deal with prosecutors that calls for her to repay the money but avoid prison.    The judge told Curnow he isn't bound by the agreement and could sentence her to 10 years in prison. Curnow said she understood. 

    >>
  • South Carolina divers spend two days removing clogs of "flushable" wipes from sewer

    South Carolina divers spend two days removing clogs of "flushable" wipes from sewer

    Saturday, October 20 2018 1:01 PM EDT2018-10-20 17:01:54 GMT

    Divers spent two days deep inside a South Carolina sewer, pulling out huge balls of oily, black used wet wipes and baby wipes that had clogged intake pumps. The Charleston Water System posted pictures of the masses of wipes on its Twitter account. It reminded people that only human waste and toilet tissue should be flushed. The cloth wipes, which have rapidly become popular, need to be thrown away because they are woven and don't break down in water. 

    >>

    Divers spent two days deep inside a South Carolina sewer, pulling out huge balls of oily, black used wet wipes and baby wipes that had clogged intake pumps. The Charleston Water System posted pictures of the masses of wipes on its Twitter account. It reminded people that only human waste and toilet tissue should be flushed. The cloth wipes, which have rapidly become popular, need to be thrown away because they are woven and don't break down in water. 

    >>
  • Netflix cancels Marvel series 'Luke Cage'

    Netflix cancels Marvel series 'Luke Cage'

    Saturday, October 20 2018 12:49 PM EDT2018-10-20 16:49:19 GMT

    The Marvel universe just got a slice smaller on Netflix with the cancellation of "Marvel's Luke Cage" after two seasons. The news Friday surprised fans and came a few weeks after Netflix axed another live-action Marvel series, "Iron Fist." Both are part of The Defenders world.

    >>

    The Marvel universe just got a slice smaller on Netflix with the cancellation of "Marvel's Luke Cage" after two seasons. The news Friday surprised fans and came a few weeks after Netflix axed another live-action Marvel series, "Iron Fist." Both are part of The Defenders world.

    >>