Jasper man's autopsy results in, kept secret for now - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

UPDATE: Attorney says family will seek a second autopsy on Alfred Wright

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Preliminary autopsy results have been returned in the death investigation of Alfred Wright, 28, of Jasper.

Sabine County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Judge James Brasher said the results will not be released to the media at this time because of the Texas Rangers' ongoing investigation into Wright's Death.

Family attorney Ryan MacLeod has filed an Open Records request with Judge Brasher, and MacLeod says Brasher told him he was gong to seek a Texas Attorney General's opinion.

But a quick search of the AG's web site showed us there's already an attorney general's opinion on this.  It was written in 2002 by then Attorney General John Cornyn.

In his opinion, Cornyn wrote:

An autopsy report prepared in connection with an inquest by a justice of the peace into a murder may be inspected by the public pursuant to section 27.004 of the Government Code. Chapter 49 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which governs inquests, does not provide confidentiality for records of an inquest conducted by a justice of the peace, or for an autopsy report prepared as part of the inquest. We find no statute that would except such an autopsy report from public inspection under Government Code section 27.004. However, should the district attorney's office or the police department wish to prohibit public disclosure of an autopsy report to prevent hindrance of the investigation and prosecution of a murder, it might find relief by securing a court order requiring the autopsy report in the justice's custody to be withheld from public inspection.

In an earlier opinion, written in 2001, Cornyn stated that the public could inspect even provisional autopsy reports:

Although the Public Information Act, Texas Government Code chapter 552, does not apply to records of the judiciary, such records may be available to the public under other laws. A "provisional autopsy report" prepared in connection with an inquest by a justice of the peace is not available under the Public Information Act, but members of the public may inspect it pursuant to section 27.004 of the Government Code.

In the meantime, MacLeod says the family has requested a second autopsy be done on Wright, and MacLeod says an independent forensic expert will conduct it, possibly as early as Tuesday.

MacLeod said, "I think if we're blind right now, then we have to do whatever we can to take off the blinders, and if that's getting a second autopsy, that's exactly what we're going to do."

Wright's body was found last week in a wooded area in Sabine County. He had been missing for three weeks. According to 12News file stories, he was found wearing only his underwear, a sock and a shoe.

Wright was last seen alive in Sabine County on Nov. 7 at a package store in Hemphill. His family became upset when Sabine County sheriff's deputies called off their ground search only 48 hours after Wright was reported missing. A family search party eventually located Wright's body in Sabine County, east of Highway 87. This is off of Coussans Road.

MacLeod says the body was very close to where belongings had been found during the initial search.

Wright's family members said they have lost trust in local investigators and are pleased that investigators with the Texas Rangers are now handling the case.

MacLeod told us Monday, "When I first met with this family, I looked them in the eyes and I said I will do everything that I possibly can to find out the truth, to find out what happened."

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