Coroner mix-up gives short-lived relief to shooting victim's mother


by WHAS11

Posted on October 3, 2013 at 5:52 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 3 at 9:20 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A mother whose son was shot and later died is asking for answers from the top law enforcement officials in Metro Louisville.

Seven months after Christopher "Buddy" Jones’ death, Bonnie Jones still hears his voice every day on her voice mail.

“I promised my son from the beginning I would find out the truth, that's all I wanted,” Bonnie Jones said.

It's that promise that brought Bonnie to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office to meet with the coroner, medical examiners and head of LMPD homicide.  It was all to find out what happened on  the morning of March 16, when buddy's friends dropped him off at Kosair Children's Hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest.

For the last few months police have told Bonnie there was a strong possibility Buddy shot himself but she never believed it. So when she received an autopsy report two weeks ago that stated Buddy was shot by someone else, Bonnie felt relief at first.

“I was on the phone with my whole family crying, thanking god,” Bonnie Jones said.

But her joy was short lived.  After contacting authorities about the report, she was told it was a mistake. And last week the report was later changed to say the manner of death was undetermined. Doctor Darius Arabradjief issued both of those opinions.

“I was told they were suspecting it to be a homicide, and the findings of the autopsy were consistent with that, so I initially said it was a homicide consistent with what they were thinking,” Arabadjief, a medical examiner, said. 

The 'they' Arabadjief refers to are LMPD detectives; who say all the signs initially pointed to a homicide.

The head of LMPDs homicide division, Todd Kessinger says detectives began a homicide investigation but after interviewing witnesses, they came to believe Jones may have accidentally shot himself. But LMPDs change of opinion didn't initially make it to the medical examiner which is why he ruled someone shot Buddy. He's now changed his opinion.

“I was told of the investigation and questioning of the witnesses and at that point I think there was enough there that it may be a homicide and it may not be,” Arabadjief said.

While the government agencies involved say this was a simple miscommunication.

Arabadjief said there was never any pressure or directive to amend the report to show what police finally believed happen on March 16.

For Bonnie Jones, the mix-up tugs at her heartstrings.

“This was sent to me by accident... it hurts,” Bonnie Jones said.