The Adams County coroner's office declined to answer specific questions Thursday about the newly released autopsy report on 23-year-old Elijah McClain's death.

Monica Broncucia-Jordan (copy)

Adams County Coroner Monica Broncucia-Jordan

The new report, amended nearly two years after the incident, was released to the public last week. It came during a grand jury investigation into the actions of police officers and paramedics involved in the August 2019 attempted arrest of McClain, who now face criminal charges related to McClain's death.

The coroner's office released the unredacted amended autopsy following an order from Denver District Court's chief judge. A group of news organizations led by Colorado Public Radio sued the coroner, Monica Broncucia-Jordan, to compel the release of the amended report.  The forensic pathologist contracted to perform the autopsy, Dr. Stephen Cina, changed his opinion to say McClain died from the injection of ketamine from a paramedic after he initially had the opinion McClain's cause and manner of death were undetermined.

Broncucia-Jordan previously denied Colorado Public Radio's records request for the amended autopsy report, citing grand jury secrecy. An Adams County judge originally ordered the release of a redacted version of the report.

"The death of Elijah McClain is extremely tragic. I continue to extend my thoughts to his family. I can’t even imagine the pain and grief they are still experiencing," Broncucia-Jordan said in a statement Thursday, a week after the amended report's release.

"My Office is obligated to conduct independent death investigations, on behalf of the deceased, in accordance with state and federal law and national best practices for death investigation. That was done in this case and the methods and evaluation conducted by my office will likely be explored further at trial.

"I, like the general public, am acutely aware that Mr. Elijah McClain would likely be alive today had this incident not occurred and that is the extreme tragedy in this case."

Broncucia-Jordan's statement refers to herself as a "likely participant in the prosecutions" of those involved. She said she could not provide detailed answers to media inquiries about the autopsy report because of her obligations as a potential witness. Her statement came after a spokesperson for the office said last week Broncucia-Jordan would issue statements informed by questions from reporters.

McClain died in August 2019, several days after an arrest by Aurora police while he walked home from a convenience store. They responded to a report of a person acting suspiciously. McClain was not accused of any crime.

The officers restrained him and put him in a neck hold, and a paramedic called to the scene injected him with 500 milligrams of the sedative ketamine. The dosage was too high for McClain's body weight, according to the autopsy report.

The statewide grand jury released indictments in September 2021. Former officers Jason Rosenblatt, Nathan Woodyard and Randy Roedema, and paramedics Peter Cichuniec and Jeremy Cooper face 32 counts total including manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and assault.

Cina amended his opinion about McClain's cause of death in July 2021 to say he died from "complications of ketamine administration following forcible restraint," records show, but in the amended autopsy report he maintained the manner of death as undetermined.

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