CARBONDALE — The unexplained death of Molly Young four months ago in a Carbondale police dispatcher’s apartment likely will go before a coroner’s jury, which would review evidence and make a formal determination regarding how the 21-year-old woman died, the county coroner says.
Jackson County Coroner Thomas Kupferer said Monday that since some evidence still is being processed at the state crime lab, he could not yet release an autopsy report or make any formal comments about Young, whose deceased body was discovered early March 24 after having sustained a fatal bullet wound to the head. Kupferer said an inquest likely would review the circumstances surrounding Young’s death.
“In all probability, this case will go to inquest,” Kupferer said. “Once all this information is obtained and reviewed, at that point we’ll go forward with my aspect of things. At this point, there’s still a lot of unanswered questions.”
By statute, a six-member coroner’s jury is convened to determine how an unaccounted death occurred and make recommendations to the coroner, which may or may not include prosecution.
The six jury members act under oath, and the coroner has the power to summon “all such witnesses whose testimony may probably be requisite to the proving of any fact or circumstance” related to the death.
In addition, family members of the deceased and known eyewitnesses to the death may testify at an inquest, and the coroner can jail summoned witnesses who refuse to testify. A witness can choose to have legal counsel testify on his or her behalf.
If evidence presented by any witness at an inquest implicates a person as being responsible for a death, the coroner is to instruct that witness to appear in circuit court to present the evidence, according to Illinois law.
In all likelihood, an inquest would rule whether Young’s death was from suicide, homicide or accidental causes, and the state’s attorney would proceed with any further prosecutorial action.
State’s Attorney Mike Wepsiec previously said he would not comment on Young’s death until all evidence had been returned from the Illinois State Police crime lab. Both Wepsiec and State Police Lt. Stan Diggs have cited a deep backlog of investigations at the lab as the reason for the apparent delay in evidence analysis being returned.
Authorities found Young’s body shortly after 9 a.m. that Saturday morning at the apartment of Richie Minton, a Carbondale Police Department dispatcher whom Young’s father, Larry Young, described as his daughter’s on-and-off boyfriend.
According to radio archives obtained by the Times, emergency responders that morning were dispatched to 500 N. Westridge Drive in response to an apparent drug overdose but instead found the body of Young with a fatal bullet wound to her head. Minton, who had an attorney present before State Police investigators arrived, has declined to be interviewed by police, Diggs previously told the Times.
The unknown circumstances surrounding Young’s death have garnered growing attention during the past four months, including on a Facebook page, Justice for Molly, that now has close to 2,600 members.