Dystiny Myers’ family sues SLO County

March 20, 2014

Dystiny MyersDystiny Myers’ family filed a claim against San Luis Obispo County for taking the head of the murder victim as evidence without informing the family. [Tribune]

During the 2013 trial of Ronda Wisto and her son Jacob York for the murder of 15-year-old Myers, prosecutors showed graphic video slides of Myers’ skull while Dr. Allison Galloway, a forensic anthropologist employed by the county, described the probable reasons for visible fractures and other blunt force injuries sustained by Myers. Myers’ mother, Aileen Lucas, fled the courtroom during the testimony.

According to the claim, the district attorney had not informed the family it had removed the head from Myers’ body before the family buried her. After seeing slides of the skull, Lucas was hospitalized because of a nervous breakdown, according to the claim.

In August, the family filed the claim, which is required before a lawsuit against a public entity can be filed. The county, which still has the skull, plans to challenge the planned lawsuit.

The county has informed the family it will release Myers’ skull. Nevertheless, reuniting the remains will require an exhumation and reburial.

 


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Old Salt

The Mortuary should have told them her head was missing / not in the coffin.

Seems they should be libel also…


Cindy

OMG, I just had the opportunity to read the article in the Tribune. The county has offered to release the head to the Myers family, literally! I can’t even imagine somebody handing me the head/skull of my loved one. If that isn’t cold enough, what is the family supposed to do when they don’t have the resources to open the grave, exhume their loved one and reunite the skull. The least our officials could have done is to see to it that Destiny, was/is made whole in her resting place. Another thing that struck me is that they used images during the trial so why did they retain the skull in the first place?


This is wrong, it’s just plain wrong, insensitive and cruel. Destiny needs to be made whole and complete in her resting place. What kind of a society are we that we would retain a skull and then offer to literally hand it over to the loved ones when they complain about it? That is just about as neanderthal as it gets. Shame on our DA and his department.


cliffclaven

Who authorized the retention of the ‘evidence’ without notice to the family?

At the very least, common sense should have guided the ‘authorities’ in this matter.

Leaders demonstrating a lack of same should be called out.


kayaknut

When you talk about a lack of common sense you do realize your talking about San Luis Obispo county? A county where a supervisor not only has an affair but then continues to pay his adulterous partner with taxpayer funds, and a second supervisor uses his position to basiclly kidnapp children, come on now common sense is something San Luis Obispo county government lost a long time ago.


Pelican1

Good grief! How much more could this family be expected to endure? Wasn’t her brutal torture and murder enough? This is clearly dereliction of duty on behalf of the DA.

Can this county get ANYTHING right????


mkaney

Not likely, no. However, they will continue to take credit for all the things the average citizens have done to make this a great place. A lot of people (at least public employees) forget this was a great place LONG before we had this huge bureaucratic infrastructure. They have done NOTHING but ride in on the tax dollars and community efforts of the original residents.


Gordo

They did something right; the sheriff’s detectives worked a difficult case, arrested the people responsible and presented a complete case to the district attorney who obtained convictions. The County got that right.

Somewhere they forgot that a little girl was involved.. in a perfect world she would be a 19 year old college student with her whole life ahead of her.. But life isn’t perfect and bad things happen to people. You would hope in the midst of chaos the police and prosecutors wouldn’t loose sight of little girl, wouldn’t simply see her as a victim, a statistic or a casualty of our imperfect world.


LAH

This is Outrages! CUE In government – Dont Steal the head and not even inform the family! Couldn’t they have taken Xray’s or an MRI to “show” the damage? Was cutting her head off the only way to show the evidence? This is straight from a horror show. I don’t blame them for suing one bit. This is just horrific.

Regrets and Condolences to her family to had to relive the nightmare!


MaryMalone

They could have obtained holographic images, technology that has been around for a long time.


Gordo

They may have had to remove the head for a proper examination; I wouldn’t question the necessity of doing this, but wouldn’t you think someone would have mustered up some empathy and very delicately explained what they were doing and why?


LameCommenter

Oh, man, of ALL the stupid things to waste taxpayer money, as well as underserve the taxpaying public, and grieve a victim family, DESECRATION OF HUMAN REMAINS really takes the cake. Nice job, county officials. Nice supervision, supervisors.


Get out the county checkbook folks, and settle FAST. Hope that these twice-victimized people accept a moderate settlement for their shock. Otherwise, this will be a tort lawyer’s DREAM case. I’m sick of watching taxpayer money blown: We pay north of ten grand in property taxes, can’t get county service on a frequent repeat misdemeanor against property and health, AND the county hands out gift packages like this to tort lawyers?? Hopefully there will be some sort of backwards poetic cranial justice and a District Attorney office employee “head will roll” as in FIRED with SUPREME CAUSE. aka Morbid stupidity.


Retention of remains by law or by next of kin consent might have been evidentially necessary, however DIVISION of those remains and permitting PURPOSEFULLY unannounced INCOMPLETE BURIAL ?….sheeesh.


Cindy

Put her head back, what is the matter with our government? They should have done so as soon as the trial was over and yes they should have sat the Grandmother down who was the one raising Destiny and they should have explained this all to her.


I won’t comment about Alien Lucas, a mother is a mother regardless of whatever. Too bad she missed out on raising her child and God Bless her.


BeenThereDoneThat

I’m sure that a lot of reaction will be knee jerk. While this sounds horrible, let’s remember the horrible crime that the county had to prosecute. They were not doing this willy nilly to disrespect Destiny’s body or the feelings of the family. They were doing this to make sure that they could show a jury how HORRIBLE this crime was and to prosecute and make sure all involved would be put away.


Think about it. If the prosecution didn’t make a strong case, then everyone would be complaining about that. I am very sorry for the family but please let’s keep the focus on the people that did the horrible crime and made the county have to do their job. It can be unpleasant at times but it is their job to make sure they get the conviction.


TacomaRose

I dont think that anyone disagrees with the preservation and presentation of the evidence but lets face it … the sheriff’s office should have sat down with the family and explained why they needed to proceed as they did. For the family to find out they they buried their loved one without her head, after the fact, is horrifying and such trauma could have been avoided by simply sitting the family down and explaining why it was necessary


BeenThereDoneThat

Agreed. My point was that I don’t think it was malice on the part of the county. Did they drop the ball? YES but again with them prosecuting the case and the hard work they did, I am not ready to tar and feather them for this.


TacomaRose

Nobody is talking Malice. It’s about an investigative error and prosecutor error that resulted in a huge insenstive event.


If this happened to your kin I would imagine you would be major league pissed off. I know I would be.


BeenThereDoneThat

O.k. I’ve tried, so what would make it right at this point? Fire everybody involved? Pay them one million? Two million? Ten million? I’m not trying to be glib but you just keep taking the easy answer, of just saying the same thing back. What would you do???


BeenThereDoneThat

How about this for a solution. Have the county pay for all costs associated with uninterment and reinterment of her body. Have those involved go to classes on sensitivity training. Last any family member the was physiologically damaged by this, pay for the costs of seeing someone.


The rest of just throwing money at it isn’t resolving what the issue is. If the issue is what is stated, than I think the above would be an agreeable solution.


LameCommenter

BTDT makes a nice common sense offer, however settlement conferences don’t always revolve around common sense. Your offer of free counseling would be laughed out of the place.


This is going to cost us. I agree that the funeral home should have been required to give notice, if they were aware, of intentional division of the remains.


Meantime, Parkinson enforces the laws he likes, ignores the ones that don’t grasp his fancy, and like someone else posted, our supervisors are busy with adulterous romantic affairs with women on the public dole or payroll (what’s the difference).


I’m sorry to say, but on numerous important areas, this county’s top administrators are a bleeping mess. We all pay immense property taxes and we deserve much better performance at the top, and in the rank and file.


BeenThereDoneThat

Agreed will never happen but there is the solution. But instead a ton of money at yours and mine, Johnny tax payers expense is going to cost us.


It all, as usual, comes down to politics that keeps stuff from being solved in a reasonable way.


MaryMalone

Indeed. At the very least, the county should have discussed this policy with the family.


So what is the family supposed to do when the head is released to them? Pay for an exhumation so the head can be reunited with the body?


And what kind of additional trauma would this bring to the family?


MaryMalone

There is no excuse for releasing the body without the head. It is heartless, macabre and twisted.


If the prosecutor believes retaining the head is necessary for the prosecution, then the family should be notified and given the option of sacrificing a possible guilty verdict if it meant beheading a loved one and burying a headless body.


I know parents immediately count fingers and toes on a newborn. However, they should not have to count body parts before they bury a loved one.


gardenslo

Oh my God.