By law, the victim’s clothing belongs to the coroner. How did Dana’s husband end up with the clothes that she was wearing when she was admitted to the hospital on March 3, 2014?
“Once a patient is declared dead and falls under the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner-Coroner as required by the California Government and Health & Safety Code, the following becomes applicable: …The clothing and personal property, regardless of whether it is on the body or removed from the body, belongs to the Coroner. Evidence or personal property may not be released to a law enforcement agency or next of kin without the knowledge and consent of the Coroner.”
Why didn’t homicide detectives inquire about the whereabouts of Dana’s clothing before March 13, 2014 — ten days after victim was admitted to the hospital? At that time — after the autopsy had been performed — Huck offered the clothes, unsolicited, to LBPD homicide detectives. Detective Roger Zottneck wrote in a report (pdf) that he accepted the bag of clothes from Huck and booked it into police evidence.
It’s astonishing to Dana’s family that homicide detectives accepted this “evidence” as authentic, did not question the chain of custody, and apparently did not even think about Dana’s clothing as evidence until after the autopsy had been completed.
Further, according to Detective Zottneck’s report, this clothing was in Huck’s Prius. (It was actually Dana’s Prius.) The initial search warrant (pdf), signed on March 4, 2014, specifically commanded the police to search Dana’s vehicles, including her Prius. The search warrant commanded the police to search for “any evidence related to the possible crime of murder,” specifically including clothing. Why didn’t they?