An Army Sergeant from Joint Base Lewis McChord, Rene Michael Navarro, 26 was arrested on Mountain View Highway March 14, for “failing to yield for a pedestrian in the roadway”. The female pedestrian died at the scene and Sgt. Navarro was also cited for vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated.
But in a weird twist, the female pedestrian whom the sergeant hit that night, was misidentified by the Pierce County Medical Examiner.
Initially, the deceased woman was listed as Jane Doe at the Medical Examiner’s office; however, after being provided information from the family of a missing local woman, including information about a specific tattoo, the ME identified the woman as Samantha Kennedy, 24.
In what most would find an odd event, the Medical Examiner’s office denied Kennedy’s family access to positively identify her body stating it was “biohazard." Kennedy’s mother and aunt arrived days later at the funeral home for the viewing and discovered it wasn’t Samantha Kennedy in the casket.
KIRO TV News has reported the deceased as Jade Nicole Aubrey-Peterson, 25, of Pierce County.
Samantha Kennedy is still missing.
Navarro is a sergeant with the 555th Engineering Brigade; 7th Infantry Division.
Examiner’s Note: On the face of it, the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s office has not only some explaining to do, but a top-to-bottom review of identifying procedures and notifying "next-of-kin" procedures are in order.
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