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Updated Aug 26, 2013 - 3:42 pm

Yavapai Co. withholds firefighter autopsy records

PHOENIX — The Yavapai County Attorney won’t release autopsy reports or
photos of the scene where 19 firefighters were killed in June without a court
order.

A letter sent to media organizations Monday says the records were being
withheld under exemptions in Arizona public records law.

County Attorney Sheila Polk wrote that while the reports and photos are
considered public records, the privacy interests of the firefighters’ families
overrides the public interest in their release. She was writing for the county
sheriff and medical examiner and the Maricopa County Medical Examiner, which
performed the autopsies.

Numerous news agencies including The Associated Press have requested records
regarding the June 30 deaths near Yarnell.

Media attorney David Bodney says courts have held autopsy reports to be public
and scene photos are also often released.

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