DOJ Lags on Shaleen Duckey

32 year old Shaleen Duckey of Bishop went missing July 12, 2006. Her dead body wasfound in a field off Barlow Lane a couple of weeks later. Law Enforcement officers did confirm that they found a knife next to her body, but almost two years later the official cause of Duckey’s death is pending.

The reason for the delay is the California Department of Justice laboratory. Over the months, agents there have stated that they are busy with other crimes and haven’t gotten the final answer on Duckey.

Inyo Sheriff’s Detective Paul Bedell is now in charge of riding herd on the DOJ. He said that he spoke to the Department of Justice at the end of January. Officials told him they would get a final report out by the end of February. That didn’t happen, and Bedell said he would start calling again.

Detective Bedell said Inyo Sheriff Bill Lutze is well aware of the delays and plans to go to work on an answer.

The Sheriff’s Office brought in DOJ agents to help examine evidence found at the time of discovery of Duckey’s body. Bedell said that ever since, the DOJ has had a dozen or so pieces of evidence and has not concluded the case. He called it “very frustrating”, particularly for the family.

The Inyo Coroner also waits on the DOJ to declare the official cause of death of the young woman.

Last May, we spoke to the DOJ and Attorney General’s office about these delays. At the time, a press person told us that the Duckey case was not a priority. The spokesman refused to offer a date when Inyo County could expect a final report.

Asked if the Inyo Sheriff’s office will use the DOJ lab in the future, Detective Bedell said the office would use private labs in the future. He said there are a couple of private facilities that perform forensic tests with a lot faster end date.

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