Sandusky County coroner John Wukie has not provided an adequate explanation for his decision to affirm his suicide ruling on Jacob Limberios' death certificate, and he has not justified the nonsensical words he used to describe the manner of death.
"Suicide. Gunshot wound to head. Deceased shot self in head, may not have realized the gun was loaded.”
With those words Wukie launched a 22-month odyssey of investigations without ever launching any real investigation of his own. He declined to go to the York Township home where Jake was killed, the night he was killed, which is a standard practice for a coroner's office in a death investigation. Instead, he relied on Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer's assessment, Wukie said.
Unfortunately there was nothing standard about Overmyer's investigation, either, but despite serious missteps in its execution none of the witnesses nor any of the deputies at the scene suggested there was any evidence this was a suicide. They came to the same conclusion Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine did after he finished the long-delayed investigation.
"We have no evidence at all this was a suicide," said DeWine, whose office took over after a visiting judge removed Sandusky County officials from further involvement citing conflicts of interest they'd created in the process of investigating.
But Wukie, who, again, never conducted an investigation of any kind, refuses to change the death certificate to reflect the finding of the investigations that did occur. As elected coroner, he is the only public official empowered to correct the mistake. And his explanations for, and defenses of the ruling, have been just as nonsensical as the ruling itself.
We don't understand what is motivating Wukie and are baffled by his unwillingness to correct the record. He should stop stonewalling the serious questions that have been raised and provide a plausible explanation for his position. That doesn't seem possible at this point, but his continued failure to do so represents a continued failure to meet the responsibilities and duties of being coroner.