Elijah McClain died of ketamine administration, according to updated autopsy report

Elijah McClain, died of complications from ketamine administration after coercion, according to a recently amended autopsy report. This is evident from his modified autopsy report, which was released Friday afternoon a judge ordered his release.

Following Thursday’s order from Denver District Court Judge Christopher J. Baumann, McClain’s complete and unedited autopsy report has been released to the public. The coroner’s report blames the administration of ketamine by the paramedics for McClain’s death.

“Put simply, this dose of ketamine was too much for this person and resulted in an overdose, even though his blood ketamine level was consistent with a ‘therapeutic’ blood concentration,” Adams County Coroner Monica Broncucia-Jordan said in her report. “I believe Mr. McClain would most likely still be alive without the administration of ketamine.”

The release of that report Friday provides answers to questions about his death over more than three years.

McClain’s official cause of death was previously listed as “undetermined.” The coroner said at the time of the original report that there could be one of several causes of death.

That changed when new evidence was revealed during a grand jury investigation. Earlier this month, the autopsy was changedpossibly altering the stated cause of death for McClain.

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The manner of death was originally listed as “indeterminate” and is still the case in the updated report. “Cause of death” is a specific injury or illness leading to death while “way of death” is the determination of how the injury or illness leads to that person’s death.

The original report was signed on November 7, 2019. Since then, the coroner’s office has received new evidence, including police bodycam footage, witness statements and more. The office said in its amended autopsy it had insufficient evidence to make a definitive judgment on the cause of death at the time.

That changed between November 2019 and July 1, 2021, when the amended report was signed.

On Thursday evening, the Adams County coroner said the report would be released without editing and embraced the judge’s decision. That follows a lawsuit from Colorado Public Radio, CBS News Colorado and other news outlets.

“Openness and transparency are at the heart of good governance,” said Broncucia-Jordan, who filed the emergency motion to release the report.

“I believe in the public’s right to information and want to be transparent about the work done in my office,” Broncucia-Jordan continued. “I also respect the rule of law and want to make sure nothing is released that violates a court order or potentially jeopardizes prosecution in this case. That’s why it was imperative that the Denver court weigh in.”

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September 2021, a nationwide jury has indicted three Aurora officers and two paramedics in McClain’s death after administering ketamine to him.

Former Aurora police officers Nathan Woodyard, Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt, as well as former paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec, have been charged on 32 counts of manslaughter and criminally negligent manslaughter. In addition, Roedema and Rosenblatt were each indicted on one count of assault and one count of violent crime, while Cooper and Cichuniec were each indicted on three counts of assault and six counts of violent crime.

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Lawyers for Sheneen McClain, Elijah McClain’s mother, announced the family reached a settlement with the city of Aurora in Nov 2021.

Sheneen McClain declined to comment Friday.

“I believe that as an elected official, I have a democratic duty to inform citizens. Openness in government is absolutely necessary for an informed public, and an informed public is necessary for democracy,” Broncucia-Jordan said. “This is a win for the people of Adams County and every family here in Colorado. Openness reigns.”

Aurora Police and the city declined to comment. Adams County said it planned to release a statement later Friday afternoon.

The full report can be viewed on the Adams County coroner’s website.

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