Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Paul Walker Autopsy Completed, Official Identification Still Pending
The postmortem investigation into Paul Walker's tragic death presses on.
Autopsies on the remains of Walker and Roger Rodas, who was behind the wheel when the pair were killed in a car accident on Saturday, were performed Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner confirmed to E! News.
While the victims' identies are widely known, the official identification from the coroner is still pending at this time. They are relying on dental records for positive matches, as the bodies were said to be burned beyond recognition after the Porsche Carrera GT they were riding in slammed into a light post and burst into flames.
A security hold has been placed on both cases, a somewhat routine matter that typically lasts a few days, "as a precaution to prevent information being released that had not been confirmed and to allow all media outlets that have requested notification the same opportunity at whatever information is released," Chief Coroner Craig Harvey explained.
"These types of cases present real challenges to our staff and we get one chance to get it right. There are a series of checks and balances we follow so that our work product is rock solid. We owe that to the families we serve and I know the media wants accurate information."
Little by little, the pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together.
Authorities have said that, contrary to speculation, there is no sign that Rodas and Walker had been drag-racing or that another car was involved. The preliminary assessment, a law enforcement source told E! News, is that Rodas lost control of the vehicle while rounding a bend where the speed limit slowed to 15 miles per hour.
The investigation is currently focusing on just how fast the Porsche, which can reach 60 mph in 4 seconds, was going when it hit the post, which boasted a 45 mph speed limit sign.
Walker and Rodas had spent the day at a benefit for the actor's disaster-relief charity, Reach Out Worldwide, at their custom-car shop in Santa Clarita, Calif. We've been told that the actor had said his goodbyes and was preparing to leave when Rodas suggested they take a drive in the Porsche to if they could figure out why it had been stalling on one of the event employees.
Contrary to some early reports, Walker's teenage daughter Meadow was not at the event. She did join family members, Vin Diesel and more of her dad's loved ones at a candlelight vigil held near the sight of the crash on monday night.
Tyrese, who shed tears while visiting the crash site on Sunday, is helping Walker's family with funeral arrangements.
Walker's family posted on his Facebook on monday a thanks for the outpouring of support and asked that donations be made to ROWW in lieu of flowers or other gifts.
"Its comforting for them to know that the son, brother, and father they love so much is equally adored, respected, and appreciated by so many," they wrote.
"Paul founded the organization with the genuine desire to help others, and it's important to his family to keep his memory alive through ROWW."