ST. JOHN – The father of a northwest Indiana teenager found dead last summer outside the high school he attended wants local police and a coroner held in contempt for not releasing more information on how his son died.
Levi Evans, a 17-year-old Lake Central High School student, was found dead Aug. 8 near a new electric substation on the grounds of the St. John school.
Officials said there were no apparent signs of foul play or trauma, and Lake County Coroner Merrilee Frey initially told St. John police and Levis parents that he had died of natural causes from a heart disorder.
But Frey announced in November that her office had reopened the case based on new information and said a final determination in the teens death remains pending.
In a petition filed Wednesday in Lake Superior Court, attorneys for Levi Evans Sr. seek a contempt order and sanctions against officials, contending they have not responded in a timely manner to subpoenas.
The Times of Munster reported the petition alleges the unfounded delay by the St. John Police Department and Freys office has prevented the boys estate from moving forward with its investigation into how he died.
The petition filed by Dyer attorney Andrew Crosmer also states the inaction has prohibited personal closure and resulted in funeral home storage costs.
Ann Simms of Merrillville said her grandsons body was cremated as sought by the teens mother through court action.
Levi Evans Sr.s petition alleges St. John police have not provided copies of the police investigation report, witness statements, photographs, video and other requested information.
Attorneys for the St. John Police Department denied the request Oct. 1 because the case remains under investigation and the records sought are investigatory in nature, the petition states.
Crown Point attorney David Austgen, who represents St. John police, said he cannot comment on the matter.
The petition alleges Frey denied requests for reports on the coroners investigation, including copies of photographs and videos taken or obtained during the autopsy.
Frey said Thursday shes released autopsy and toxicology reports to both parents and their attorneys as required under state law.
I am not in contempt of court because there has not been a court order, Frey said.
Lake County attorney John Dull said he believes the release of additional information must be court-ordered.