The deputy chief coroner who presided over Robin Williams’ autopsy has defended his decision to go public with details about the star’s death following a backlash from critics.
The 63-year-old Oscar winner was found dead after he hanged himself in his home in Marin County, California on Monday (11Aug14).
Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Coroner Keith Boyd gave a press conference on Tuesday (12Aug14) to give details about the circumstances surrounding the actor’s death, revealing Williams’ personal assistant discovered the body. Boyd also confirmed the Mrs. Doubtfire star had hanged himself with a belt, and that a number of cuts had been found on his left wrist.
Following the press conference, which was shown on TV and streamed online, many fans criticised Boyd for releasing such specific details about the tragedy. However, Boyd has now defended his decision in a statement which reads: “The Sheriff’s Office understands how the release of the kind of information you heard… may be viewed as disturbing by some, and as unnecessary by others, but under California law, all that information is considered ‘public information’ and we are precluded from denying access to it.
These kinds of cases, whether they garner national attention or not, are very difficult for everyone involved. “Frankly, it would have been our personal preference to withhold a lot of what we disclosed to the press… but the California Public Records Act does not give us that kind of latitude. For the same reasons, we will likely be required to release to the media the 911 phone call we received from Mr. Williams’ residence and the fire dispatch tapes that resulted as well…”
A private memorial is currently being planned for Williams by his wife Susan Schneider, according to E! News.