Coroner describes what Kobe’s body looked like

  • A coroner testified in Vanessa Bryant’s trial against LA County for Kobe’s photos of a helicopter crash site.
  • Captain Emily Tauscher gave graphic testimony about the post-accident condition of each victim’s body.
  • She offered insight into the horrific scene captured in inappropriate crash photos that were taken and shared.

Los Angeles County’s chief coroner testified in detail Thursday about the condition of Kobe Bryant’s body after the 2020 helicopter crash that killed all nine passengers on board, including the basketball legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant.

Testimony from Captain Emily Tauscher, chief of investigations at the LA County Coroner’s office, took center stage on the second day of Vanessa Bryant’s trial against Los Angeles County after LA Sheriff’s Deputies and LA County Fire Captains took photos of the helicopter crash site. take and share i. in late January 2020.

Tauscher painted a gruesome picture of the crash site, detailing the ugly scene captured in photos taken by an LA County sheriff’s deputy and fire captain. She also discussed the photo practices of the coroner’s office – highlighting a more ad-hoc approach to site photography in the sheriff’s department system that allowed the inappropriate photos to be taken and shared.

On January 26, 2020, a helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant, the couple’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, as well as baseball coach John Altobelli and his family crashed near Malibu while they were going to a basketball game for girls. Nine people on board, including the pilot Ara Zobayan, died in the accident.

In September 2020, Vanessa Bryant sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the county fire department, the county as a whole, and eight officers following reports that first responders took and shared photos of the January 2020 crash scene.

Chris Chester, whose wife Sarah and daughter Peyton died in the crash, is also suing county workers on the same federal and state claims and will have a 9-day consolidated trial with Bryant against the county.

Tauscher, a key witness for Bryant and Chester, gave extremely detailed and graphic testimony about the post-accident condition of each victim’s body, providing jurors with a mental image of the photographs allegedly taken by the defendants. Bryant and Chester left the courtroom ahead of her testimony.

Tauscher testified that human remains from the crash were spread over 500 yards, creating an impact zone larger than two football fields and a magnesium fire from the crash was burning. Most of the victims had to be identified scientifically because their wounds were so extreme, she said. Kobe Bryant was identified in part because of his skin tone and a tattoo on his arm, Tauscher testified.

She told the courtroom that the coroner’s office did not invite the families to identify their loved ones after the accident because of the severity of the condition of the remains.

“What a person looks like in death is very different than in life,” she said. “Seeing someone you love in that state would create an image that stays with them forever.”

Tauscher indicated that the coroner’s office took about 1,250 photos of the crash site, of which about 300 were of human remains. She also testified that the coroner’s office never asked LASD or LACFD to take photos of the remains.

David Katz, team leader for Malibu LASD Search and Rescue, previously testified that LASD Deputy Director Doug Johnson alone took hundreds of photos on his cell phone.

Bryant’s suit seeks punitive damages from the county’s defendants. She is suing the county for negligence, emotional distress, and invasion of privacy claims as well as federal claims related to the constitutional right to the images of her deceased loved ones, and the practices of L.A. county agencies leading to the taking and dissemination alleged. photograph.

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