For those who visit Lewis County Sirens before it’s launched, we’ve posted one news story you’re sure to find interesting.
The following is a comprehensive account, previously unpublished, of last November’s unprecedented judicial review of a county coroner’s decision in Washington state.
It’s the case involving the suspicious death of former trooper Ronda Reynolds in Toledo in 1998.
I have been following the case since I first broke the story in The (Centralia) Chronicle in early 2002. I covered last autumn’s proceedings in Lewis County Superior Court for The (Longview) Daily News.
The story below was written in November, at the conclusion of the proceedings in Chehalis, which took place over several days.
In the future, you’re unlikely to find stories at Lewis County Sirens as lengthy as this. However, enjoy reading about this still unresolved case while you wait for us to begin covering news daily and when it happens of crime, police, fire and courts in greater Lewis County, Washington.
–Lewis County Sirens reporter Sharyn Decker
Sunday Nov. 15, 2009
By Sharyn L. Decker
CHEHALIS — Ronda Reynolds, a former state trooper, was preparing to leave her marriage of less than a year to Ron Reynolds, principal of Toledo Elementary School, when she was found fatally shot in the head, on the floor of their walk-in closet, with a turned-on electric blanket covering her.
He told authorities he did not hear the gunshot and said he did not know if his 33-year-old wife was right or left handed.
A badly torn fingernail on otherwise neatly manicured hands and a message written with lipstick on the master bathroom mirror, which read, “I love you, please call me,” followed by her grandmother’s phone number in Spokane, were among the “oddities” that moved the lead investigator Jerry Berry to work the case vigorously for five months.
The Dec. 16, 1998 death was closed as suicide despite protests from Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detective Berry, and within a week after Ron Reynolds’ attorney had threatened to file a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office if they didn’t cease the investigation. (more…)