Mon, 15 Feb 2016 19:21:01 +0000
This is a follow-up on last night’s post, “Scalia found dead with a pillow over his head“.
Despite the suspicious circumstances of Antonin Scalia’s death — Cibola Creek Ranch resort owner John Poindexter said he had found Scalia dead on the bed “with a pillow over his head” — there will be no autopsy, nor will there ever be one.
That’s because, less than 24 hours after his body was discovered, Scalia’s body is already embalmed.
Jason Whiteley reports for ABC affiliate in , WFAA, that Saturday night, Scalia’s remains were discreetly driven by van overnight from the resort to the Sunset Funeral Home in El Paso. The van was escorted by a procession of Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers and U.S. Marshals Service vehicles.
After arriving at 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, the Sunset Funeral Home embalmed Scalia’s remains, according to Chris Lujuan, a funeral home manager. Embalming is required by Texas law before a body can be transported out of state.
Lujuan said Scalia’s remains would likely begin the journey back to northern Virginia sometime today, Feb. 15, though it’s uncertain exactly how the body would be transported.
Meanwhile, Cinderela Guevara, the county judge in Alpine, Texas, who at 1:52 p.m. on Saturday had declared Scalia to have died from “natural causes” without even seeing his body or obtaining the professional judgment of a physician or medical examiner, told WFAA that Scalia’s heart had stopped beating during his sleep.
Duh! If someone dies, that automatically means his heart had stopped beating!
Guevara will be the local official who signs his death certificate.
Guevara earlier had told WFAA that the likely cause of death was myocardial infarction or a heart attack. She changed it to “natural causes” after she:
- Asked the sheriff and U.S. Marshal if there were any signs of foul play, and was told “Absolutely not.”
- Conferred with Scalia’s personal physician, who had not accompanied Scalia to Texas and therefore had not seen his body. Guevara spoke to the doctor at at 8 p.m. Saturday night. She said that the physician said Scalia had had a medical visit on Wednesday and Thursday for a shoulder injury, just before he left for Texas. The doctor had done an MRI, and said Scalia suffered from several chronic ailments. As a result, Guevara said “I felt comfortable what I knew was going on with him [Scalia] physically.”
Guevara said she will fill out the official death certificate to be permanently filed in Presidio County after Sunset Funeral Home collects Scalia’s vital information.
Here’s a timeline I’ve compiled of what happened:
• Friday, February 12, 2016: Scalia arrived at Cibola Creek Ranch in West Texas. Was “animated and engaged” during dinner.
• At around 9 p.m., Feb. 12: Scalia went to bed in his “El Presidente” suite.
• By 10 p.m., Feb. 12: “Everyone” in Scalia’s private group of 40 was in bed.
• Sometime during the night of Feb. 12 or morning of Feb. 13: Scalia died.
• Saturday, Feb. 13, at around 8:30 a.m.: Poindexter went to Scalia’s room to wake him up. Found door locked; no answer.
• At around 11 a.m., Feb. 13: Poindexter discovered Scalia “in bed, a pillow over his head. Everything was in perfect order. He was in his pajamas, peacefully, in bed. His bed clothes were unwrinkled.” (Source: mySA)
• After lunch on Feb. 13: Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez reached Judge Guevara in Alpine on her mobile phone.
• At 1:52 p.m., Feb. 13: Guevara pronounced Scalia dead. She had planned to drive to the ranch — about 30 minutes south of Marfa — but returned when a U.S. Marshal told her by phone: “It’s not necessary for you to come, judge,” because she was not asking for an autopsy, having determined Scalia had died of “natural causes”.
• At 8 p.m., Feb. 13: Scalia’s personal physician called and spoke with Guevara.
• Night of Feb. 13: Scalia’s body was transported by van from Cibola Creek Ranch to El Paso, Texas.
• At 3:30 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 14: Scalia’s body arrived at Sunset Funeral Home in El Paso, where it was promptly embalmed, less than 24 hours after Poindexter had found the body in the suite.
See also “Rest in peace, Justice Antonin Scalia“.