Kent Co. Chief Medical Examiner Releases Statement on Patrick Lyoya Autopsy

After receiving several questions from the community, Dr. Stephen D. Cohle has released a statement regarding the autopsy of Patrick Lyoya.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Kent County Chief Medical Examiner released a statement after several concerned members of the community reached out with questions about Patrick Lyoya’s autopsy.

Patrick Lyoya, 26, was shot and killed by a GRPD officer on April 4 near Griggs Street and Nelson Avenue SE.

RELATED: TIMELINE OF EVENTS: Patrick Lyoya Death Investigation & What’s Next

In the statement, Dr. Stephen D. Cohle sets forth his office’s policy and procedures regarding autopsy, as well as the family’s opportunity to view his body.

“Several concerned community members recently raised questions about Mr. Patrick Lyoya’s autopsy and the family’s opportunity to view his body. I wanted to take this opportunity to clarify my office policy and procedures.

State Statute directs my office to determine the cause or manner of death, answer additional questions about the death, and often collect evidence. This procedure provides crucial evidence to criminal justice agencies and the public. Deaths that fall under the jurisdiction of my office include, but are not limited to, sudden and unexpected deaths, accidental deaths, and violent deaths.

On April 4, 2022, I completed the autopsy on Mr. Lyoya. A Michigan State Police officer was present during the examination, which is standard operating policy. A death certificate with cause and manner of death has been prepared, but toxicology and tissue test results are pending with our contract laboratory. The turnaround time for these results is up to 60 days; however, we request that these results be expedited.

The full autopsy report will be completed as soon as tissue and toxicology test results are received, but the report will not be publicly available until the Michigan State Police conclude their investigation. This is standard operating procedure to ensure the integrity of the investigation process.

Family viewing of bodies is not permitted in our facility as we are not equipped to provide the privacy family members need in these circumstances. This does not mean that the family loses the ability to see Mr. Lyoya; rather, the hearing is postponed until his body can be transferred to a funeral home. We notified Mr. Lyoya’s family on April 5, 2022 that his body was available to be delivered to the funeral home of his choice.

In addition, Mr. Lyoya’s family may request an independent autopsy. On April 5, 2022, I offered to provide the family with a list of agencies that can provide private autopsy services. My office will fully cooperate with any board certified forensic pathologist performing an independent autopsy, if the family notifies us that they would like us to release Mr. Lyoya’s body to one of these agencies.

My office understands that the families we work with are grieving. We strive to ensure that all families are treated with dignity and respect and are supported with compassion and honest information to help them make appropriate arrangements. I have personally spoken with Mr. Lyoya’s father (through an interpreter), and my office stands ready to assist him with the release of his son’s body when the family has made a decision on arrangements.”

Several other city leaders have issued statements ahead of the release of multiple videos showing Lyoya’s shooting death.

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