Elijah McClain died of ketamine administration, according to an updated autopsy report

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Elijah McClain died from complications of ketamine administration after forcible restraint, according to a newly amended autopsy report. That’s according to his amended autopsy report, which was published the following Friday afternoon a judge ordered its release.

Following Thursday’s ruling by Denver District Court Chief Judge Christopher J. Baumann, McClain’s full and unredacted autopsy report has been released to the public. The medical examiner’s report blames the paramedics’ administration of ketamine for McClain’s death.

“Simply put, this dose of ketamine was too much for this individual, resulting in an overdose, even though his blood ketamine level was consistent with a ‘therapeutic’ blood concentration,” Adams County Coroner Monica Broncucia-Jordan said in her report. “I believe that Mr. McClain would most likely be alive if he had not administered the ketamine.”

Friday’s release of this report brings answers to questions surrounding his death for more than three years.

McClain’s official cause of death was previously listed as “undetermined.” The coroner said at the time of the original report that there could have been one of several causes of death.

That changed when new evidence was revealed during a grand jury investigation. Earlier this month the autopsy had been changedpossibly changing the stated cause of death for McClain.

The manner of death was originally listed as “undetermined,” and remains so on the updated report. “Cause of death” is a specific injury or disease that leads to death, while “manner of death” is the determination of how the injury or disease leads to the death of that person.

The original report was signed on November 7, 2019. Since then, the coroner’s office has received new evidence, including police bodycam footage, witness statements and more. The office said in its amended autopsy that it lacked enough evidence to provide a definitive opinion on the cause of death at that time.

That changed between November 2019 and July 1, 2021, when the amended report was signed.

Thursday night, the Adams County Coroner’s Office said the report would be released without redactions and embraced the judge’s decision. It follows a lawsuit by Colorado Public Radio, CBS News Colorado and other news outlets.

“Openness and transparency are at the heart of good government,” said Broncucia-Jordan, who filed an emergency to have the report released.

“I believe in the public’s right to information and want to be transparent about the work done in my office,” Broncucia-Jordan continued. “I also respect the rule of law and want to ensure that nothing is released that would violate a court order or potentially jeopardize the prosecution in this case. That’s why it was imperative to have the Denver District Court consider it.”

In September 2021, a statewide grand jury indicted three Aurora officers and two paramedics in McClain’s death after giving him ketamine.

Former Aurora police officers Nathan Woodyard, Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt, as well as former paramedics Jeremy Cooper and Peter Cichuniec, have been charged with 32 counts of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. In addition, Roedema and Rosenblatt were each indicted on one count of assault and one count of a crime of violence, while Cooper and Cichuniec were each charged with three counts of assault and six counts of a crime of violence.

The attorneys for Sheneen McClain, Elijah McClain’s mother, announced the family reached a settlement with the city of Aurora in November 2021.

Sheneen McClain declined to comment Friday.

“I believe that as an elected official I have a democratic duty to provide citizens with information. Openness in government is essential to an informed public, and an informed public is necessary for democracy,” said Broncucia-Jordan. “This is a victory for the people of Adams County and every family here in Colorado. Openness wins.”

Aurora Police and the city declined to comment. Adams County said it planned to issue a statement later Friday afternoon.

The entire report can be viewed Adams County Coroner’s website.

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