Claremore Daily Progress

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September 14, 2012

Vet’s widow looking for justice, answers

CLAREMORE — Frances Minter recently settled her tort claim with the state of Oklahoma, but continues to search for answers after the District Attorney’s Office was unable to prosecute those responsible for the death of her husband.

Jay Minter, 85 of, Claremore, died in May after being severely burned in a whirlpool bath at the Veteran’s Center in Claremore.
The medical examiner’s report,  along with and extensive report from the Department of Human Services,  details the account of the death and the negligence of officials.
Minter took matters into her own hands, contacting multiple agencies including the District Attorney’s Office.
“I called Janice Steidley to see where the case was,” Minter said. 
Steidley told Minter that the local office could not prosecute without more evidence.
The district attorney could not prosecute due to the fact that her husband’s clothes were not found after his death and because he had been embalmed prior to examination by the medical examiner.
The whirlpool bath and other evidence were destroyed leaving little physical evidence for prosecution, according to Steidley.
Steidley explored every option currently available even calling in another prosecutor to review the evidence.
“I’m governed by the law, despite the horrific nature of the crime.” Steidley said. “If the evidence is not there it is not there, I am bound by statute.”
Steidley is sympathetic to Minter and said in great detail that this case was unique in the fact that authorities were not contacted until hours after the death.
“I believe law enforcement did everything that they could in this situation,” Steidley said.
Minter is still frustrated and upset. She provided graphic photos as evidence of the severe burns her husband had received to the Claremore Progress.
As she continues to look for answers Minter questions how something so horrible could happen.

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