By Jim Hannah
Enquirer staff writer
FORT THOMAS - Jane A. Phillips had to cope with the pain of her brother's suicide in January.
Ten months later, she is coping with another pain - the loss of her brother's jewelry.
Two rings of her brother, Richard David Phillips, went missing between the autopsy and the cremation.
Phillips said she isn't looking for compensation - the rings have more sentimental value than monetary value. But she wants someone to be held accountable for the missing jewelry.
"From my perspective, there is no good answer to what happened," said Kenton County Coroner Dr. David Suetholz.
No one has been charged with a crime despite at least one internal investigation and two police inquiries. One of the rings was a woman's ring Mr. Phillips wore on his pinkie. The other was a silver ring from his grandfather. But a third ring was still on his hand.
The rings appeared to have disappeared after the autopsy at the Northern Kentucky State Medical Examiner's Office at St. Luke Hospital East in Fort Thomas, Suetholz said. He said he cannot recall anything else disappearing during 20 years in the coroner's office. He also said he doesn't want to "pass the buck" by blaming St. Luke.
A spokeswoman for Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, the parent of St. Luke hospitals, said their own investigation found no proof the rings were stolen. "We always take concerns about missing property very seriously," said hospital spokeswoman Pat Samson. "We did an exhaustive search for the rings and found nothing."
She said the facility handles 700 bodies a year from eight Northern Kentucky counties and rarely, if ever, have there been reports of missing items.
Phillips said hospital officials suggested the two rings might have fallen off in a body bag from the morgue to the funeral home. She said officials question why someone would just take two rings when her brother was wearing three.
"I just wanted someone to apologize," she said, "and say this is what we have done to make sure it doesn't happen to another grieving family."
OHIO ELECTION RESULTS:
Ohio provisional ballots may decide presidential election
Voters repeal amendment on gay rights
Ohio Supreme Court: GOP's justices appear to be buttressing majority
Voinovich has no trouble winning 2nd Senate term
Sycamore levy passes; four others fail
Kerry effort falls short in Ohio
Ohio Republicans aim to maintain grip in House, Senate
Ohio election briefs
Ohio Issue 1 passes
Turnout heavy in suburbs
MU students hit the polls
HAMILTON CO. RACES
Cincinnati school levy passes
Hospital tax leading despite opposition
CLERMONT CO. RACES
Clermont County: Republicans remain choice in early count
Clermont County tax issues: Long lines delay counting
BUTLER CO. RACES
Fairfield levy passes
Butler commission: All incumbents being returned
Butler levies: Support strong for health, social care funding
Butler County Sheriff: Jones likely successor to Gabbard
WARREN CO. RACES
Heavy turnout, long lines delay vote count
Kings levy passes by slim margin
Indiana governor: Daniels prevails after tough, costly slugfest
Ballot misprint may affect Ind. school board race
KENTUCKY ELECTION RESULTS:
Alexandria: Voters stick with City Council's six incumbents
Bellevue City Council: Two incumbents losing seats with 4 of 5 precincts counted
Covington: Sanders and Stricker joining City Commission
Campbell County: Ward holds on to retain seat on Circuit Court
Florence City Council: One newcomer, five incumbents win seats
Independence: Four who opposed insurance tax win
Newport: Mayor, all four on council will be keeping their seats
Suburban schools: Campbell, other area boards get fresh faces
Villa Hills, Taylor Mill: Taxes to fix, replace city streets rejected
Urban schools: Newcomer ousts incumbent, snags Newport board seat
N. Ky. election briefs
Popular president dominates Kentucky
Ky. Senate: Bunning wins - but race was close
Ky. House: This time around, Davis prevails
Issue One: Kentucky overwhelmingly says yes to no-gay-marriage
State's determined voters brave long lines, waits, rain
23rd Senate District: Westwood survives challenge by Groob
Ex-Gov. Carroll wins Frankfort seat
State Senate: Republican Thayer wins a full term in new seat
67th House District: Keene's win preserves spot for Democrats
IN THE TRISTATE
Shelter director traveled from needing to helping
Help Habitat by hiring yard rakers
Father inspired mission journey
Cone throw may bring legal action
Police dogs could get TV time at competition
Harrison man charged in auto fatals
Exhibit to spotlight 350 years of Judaism in America
Medal of Honor graves get special markers
Local news briefs
Neighbors news briefs
Good Things Happening
Gay Weber designed jet engines for GE
Time of change in Crestview Hills
Waltz or swing, timid students learn to let go
Florence Freedom has a deal
$545,000 grant to bolster Ky. health-care work force
N. Ky. news briefs
Jewelry gone after autopsy of corpse
N.Ky. schools' education guide available online
Murder counts filed in wreck that killed 2