- Ali Ahmed Mohammed.
UPDATE 6:15 p.m.: D.C. Department of Health spokeswoman Dena Iverson says the Office of Vital Records was open all day today and that there was no hold on releasing records. But Fields told us earlier that the funeral director insisted he tried to get the death certificate today. My best guess? The funeral director must have gone on Friday, when the office was actually closed, and just didn't say anything about it until today. Or something. So, the wait continues.
Original post: We've been expecting the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to release its autopsy findings in the DC9 case all day today, but it's looking like we'll be waiting a while longer. According to a statement just released from OCME Chief of Staff Beverly Fields, the funeral home that buried 27-year-old Ali Ahmed Mohammed was unable to pick up a copy of the revised death certificate to deliver to the family today, thanks to what they were told was a hold on releasing records right now:
"Please note that we have just found out from the funeral home that, apparently, the Department of Health’s Vital Statistics Unit is moving and has placed a hold on releasing documents, including death certificates. As such, the funeral home has been unable to obtain the death certificate. The Chief Medical Examiner will be contacting the DOH Director asap to determine if this can be resolved with respect to this particular case. We will be in touch as we know more," reads the statement.
The medical examiner's office won't release a determination on cause and manner of death to the public before next of kin are formally notified, which involves delivery of a paper copy of the death certificate.
Only in D.C., right? The weird part about this is that the D.C. Department of Health's Vital Records office announced way back on Dec. 9 that it would be closed for one day, Friday, Dec. 17, for a planned move, but that the closure would only last one day. "Birth and death certificates will be available again when the office reopens on Monday, December 20 at 8:30 a.m. for normal business hours," is a verbatim quote from the otherwise mundane DOH press release. But Fields says the Mohammed's funeral director reported back to her that when he showed up today, Monday, Dec. 20, he was told they were still not releasing records. Fields also said her office didn't know the Vital Records office was going to be closed, because "they are a separate entity, so we never really are involved" with the process of releasing death certificates, she said.
We've contacted the Dept. of Health to find out what exactly is going on on their end, and will update when we hear back.