The Jakarta Post
The Karangasem Police have stated they will not follow through with their official request to conduct autopsies on the bodies of two Australian nationals as their family has refused to allow the procedure.
This latest development is sure to hinder the investigators' ability to positively determine the cause of death of Noelene Bischoff, 54, and her daughter, 14, who passed away at dawn on Saturday having fallen seriously ill during their stay at a beachside resort in Karangasem, Bali.
'We received a letter from the Australian consulate, saying that the family will not allow an autopsy. We have decided not to force the procedure to go ahead,' said head of the Karangasem Police investigation team, Comr. Adnan Pangibu, on Tuesday.
On Monday, the police had sent a letter to Sanglah Hospital requesting the autopsies.
However, later that day, they received a letter from the Australian Consulate in Bali. 'In the letter, the Australian consulate conveyed that the family rejected the autopsies and requested the bodies be promptly returned to Australia,' Adnan said.
The Karangasem Police, he said, would send another letter to Sanglah Hospital canceling the autopsy request. 'We will send the letter soon.'
Under the Indonesian legal system, the police do have the authority to order an autopsy, with or without the family's consent, in cases involving death under suspicious circumstances. 'We won't force an autopsy as our preliminary investigation has not found any indication of a crime,' he said.
The police would, however, continue the investigation and interview several witnesses.
The Australian media have reported that the family wants the autopsies to be conducted in Australia.
Adnan could not confirm whether the police would be able to use autopsy results from Australia in the investigation process.
Forensic expert at Sanglah General Hospital, Dr. Ida Bagus Putu Alit, acknowledged that the hospital had received the autopsy request from the Karangasem Police. 'If they are canceling their request, we need a new letter from them,' he said.
Meanwhile, the police forensic laboratory in Denpasar assured laboratory tests on the victims' vomit and medicines found in their hotel room would take place, regardless of autopsies not being conducted.
Sr. Comr. Agus Budiarta, head of the police forensic laboratory, said Tuesday that they had started the tests. 'We need around one week to get the test results,' he said. However, the laboratory tests would not be able to confirm cause of death.
Initial examination of the hotel room found 28 types of medicine, including antidepressants and several kinds of allergy medication. 'It is quite strange that a traveller would bring so much medicine,' Agus said.
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