How did Huck end up with the clothes that Dana supposedly was wearing when she was admitted to the hospital on March 3, 2014? By law, the clothing belonged to the coroner’s office:
“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.”Source: http://mec.lacounty.gov/wps/portal/mec/ourservices/forhospitals
Why didn’t homicide detectives look for or ask about Dana’s clothing sometime before March 13, 2014? Why did they wait until ten days after she was admitted to the hospital, and after the autopsy had been performed?
Police reports suggest that detectives never asked about the clothes. Rather, Huck offered police a bag clothes, unsolicited. Detective Roger Zottneck wrote in a report (pdf) that he accepted the bag and booked it into evidence (pdf).
It’s astonishing to Dana’s family that homicide detectives accepted this “evidence” as authentic, and did not question the chain of custody. Apparently they didn’t 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 located in Dana’s car, which Huck was driving. The initial search warrant (pdf), signed on March 4, 2014, specifically commanded the police to search Dana’s car for “any evidence related to the possible crime of murder,” specifically including clothing. Why didn’t detectives comply?