St. John to release records sought by dad of dead teen

2013-01-30T20:00:00Z 2013-01-30T22:17:03Z St. John to release records sought by dad of dead teenSusan Brown susan.brown@nwi.com, (219) 662-5325 nwitimes.com
January 30, 2013 8:00 pm  • 

HAMMOND | Attorneys for the town of St. John said in court Wednesday the town will release all investigatory records into last summer's sudden death of a Lake Central student to his family by Friday.

Levi Evans Jr. was found dead Aug. 8 near a NIPSCO substation on Lake Central High School property.

Lake Superior Court Judge William Davis earlier had been expected to rule this week on a bevy of motions by attorneys for the teen's father Levi Evans Sr., the town of St. John and the Lake County coroner's office over the family being denied information about the boy's death.

Attorneys for the senior Evans began to seek information about how and why the boy died from the St. John Police Department and the Lake County coroner's office Aug. 27.

The Lake County coroner's office released autopsy and certain other findings to the family beginning in October, but both the coroner and the town withheld police investigatory records despite being subpoenaed by Evans' attorney, Andrew Crosmer, of the Dyer firm of Rubino Ruman Crosmer & Polen.

Neither St. John town attorneys David Austgen and Joseph Svetanoff nor the coroner's attorney, Robert Hess, of St. John, had appeared at last week's hearing over the dispute.

Judge Davis subsequently agreed to a rehearing Wednesday, saying the town and the coroner had not been notified about a change in hearing date.

On Wednesday, during an otherwise contentious hearing, Austgen and Hess each offered their condolences to Evans and his family, who were present in court Wednesday. 

Crosmer recounted his efforts to obtain the records, videotapes and photos he has sought through the courts, questioning why the town was withholding the records from the family since there was no indication a family member was a suspect or person of interest.

While the coroner's office has since produced other records, it did not produce police records, he said.

"It's imperative to bring closure to this family," Crosmer said.

Austgen said the town had been awaiting confirmation about the cause of death from the coroner.

He told the court the investigation was considered over.

"Without information from the coroner, the town was exercising its proper discretion under the law to not disclose the information requested and the completion of the coroner's work," Austgen told The Times following the hearing.

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About St. John

Town Hall

10955 W. 93rd Avenue St. John, IN 46373
219.365.6465
219.558.2078 (Fax)

Police Department

11033 W. 93rd Avenue St. John, IN 46373
219.365.6032
Fax: 219.558.2166

Fire Department

11033 W. 93rd Avenue St. John, IN 46373
219.365.6034
Fax: 219.558.2080

Parks and Recreation

9350 Hack St., Bldg 2 St. John, IN 46373
219.365.6465
219.558.2032 (Fax)

Lake Central School Corporation

Kay Trapp Administration Center
8260 Wicker Avenue
St. John, Indiana 46373
Phone: 219.365.8507

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