Coroner to forego autopsy for Native American girl killed in cra - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Coroner to forego autopsy for Native American girl killed in crash

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KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho -

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe reported Tuesday that tribal attorneys representing the family of Olivia Pakootas met with attorneys for the Kootenai County Coroner's Office. The parties reached an agreement to forego an autopsy on Pakootas, as requested by the family. The agreement will allow the family to move forward with their funeral preparations.

The family contacted Coroner Warren Keene following Pakootas' crash and said they did not want an autopsy performed because it violates the family's religious beliefs. 

“Our Livi girl has been making her mark since her day of birth. When she was graduating from high school, she was told she couldn't wear and eagle feather on her cap at her graduation, so she went in front of the Tekoa School Board and presented the importance of it. She fought so that other tribal kids wouldn’t have to worry about this again and she won. At her graduation she received the outstanding athlete award that had never been awarded to a native. Now even in her death, she is ensuring that no other tribal families have to fight the state of Idaho or local jurisdictions to take care of our people and send them on their final journey,” said Nicky James, mother of Olivia Pakootas, in a release Tuesday.

In response to a complaint filed by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe Monday, the district court granted a temporary restraining order to halt the autopsy.

Following the restraining order, Pakootas' body was transported to a funeral home in Tekoa. Now that both parties have reached an agreement, the family can move forward with their cultural and religious ceremonies to prepare Pakootas for her burial.

Services have not yet been announced. 

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