On Wednesday, authorities charged an investigator from the County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner with theft. The charges stem from allegations that the investigator stole items from deceased individuals while on the job.
In a recent news release, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that Adrian Muñoz faces charges of grand theft of property, a felony, and petty theft of property, a misdemeanor.
According to the release, surveillance footage revealed that Muñoz allegedly took a gold crucifix necklace from an employee who suffered a heart attack on January 6th at a warehouse. The footage showed him placing the necklace inside his medical bag. However, Muñoz failed to return the necklace or include it in the property receipt.
Upon searching Muñoz’s desk cubicle, investigators stumbled upon a collection of rare antique coins. Further scrutiny of the discovery revealed a receipt for a man who was found deceased on November 12th, 2022. Since 2018, Muñoz had been a valued employee of the Medical Examiner’s Office. According to District Attorney George Gascón, the supposed incidents are a grave betrayal to the families of the deceased individuals.
District Attorney Gascón emphasized the crucial role of an investigator with the Medical Examiner’s Office, stating that they hold a significant level of trust and responsibility. In addition to determining the cause of death and aiding in potential crime-solving, these investigators provide solace and closure to mourning families. Theft of items, especially those with sentimental value or that may be family heirlooms, from the deceased not only violates this trust but also disrespects the memory of the loved one.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Kristopher Gay, the deputy district attorney in charge of the case, has stated that the investigation is ongoing and there may be further allegations that come to light.
According to him, the individual in question has been linked to numerous cases. However, he was unable to determine the exact number of possible victims.
Dr. Odey Ukpo, the Chief Medical Examiner, has suspended Muñoz as of Tuesday. Ukpo expressed that the community’s trust is crucial for their operations. The recent incident has undoubtedly affected that trust. According to Rosalba Solorio, the daughter-in-law of the warehouse employee who passed away, she is relieved that the investigation did not go unnoticed or unaddressed.
“My father-in-law might finally receive the justice he deserves, thanks to their actions,” she expressed.
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