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Expert analyzes ‘homicide’ ruling by ME for Moore in-custody death

MOORE, Okla. – It has been almost eight weeks since 44-year-old Luis Rodriguez died following a scuffle with police outside of the Warren Theater.

Nair Rodriguez, Luis’ wife, said, “I’m living second by second on my faith.”

His family is still mourning, though the release of his autopsy this week does bring them some hope.

Nair said, “We were just waiting for that report.”

According to the report from the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office, Luis Rodriguez died from “cardiac arrhythmia due to physical restraint.”

The report also lists obesity and steatosis, or fatty liver disease, as significant conditions that played a role in his death.

H.L. Christensen, a former forensic death investigator who is now a private investigator with Eastridge Investigations, said, “You don’t see this sudden traumatic death. You see someone’s natural conditions aggravated by this physical activity.”

Christensen said, “Everything listed here is a chronic health condition that could cause death on its own.”

He says the decision by the pathologist at the ME’s office to list the probable cause of death as homicide is not unusual.

He said, “A homicide means the actions of one human being caused the death of another human being.”

Christensen says it does not appear the medical examiner found any signs of beating, only basic abrasions consistent with the struggle with police.

While the death is listed as a homicide, the autopsy report says that “does not imply wrongdoing or criminal intent.”

Christensen said, “The point of the medical legal investigation is not to assign blame or guilt, it’s to determine the cause and the manner of death.”

It’s just one more piece of this investigation which has been handed over now to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Jessica Brown, spokesperson for the OSBI, said, “We’re trying to get it done as quickly as possible and now that we have the medical examiner’s report it will help us speed up our investigation.”

Whether or not the officers involved will face any charges will not be decided until the case goes to the Cleveland County District Attorney.

The officers involved are still on administrative leave with pay.

The family has had a private autopsy done; however, they tell us they are still waiting on those results.